Twitter loves a good verbal takedown. And Twitter seems to especially relish it when the person being taken down is the actual creator of Twitter, Jack Dorsey. But amid the vague, non-committal reflections on the importance of listening (to alt-right figures like Ali Akbar) and how a protester handcuffing herself to the Twitter building was “speaking truth to power,” Dorsey, in a recent Huffington Post interview, does appear to promise one thing: harsher anti-doxxing enforcement on Twitter.
While sitting down with senior HuffPo reporter Ashley Feinberg last week for a somewhat unexpected interview (Feinberg, after all, regularly DM’s Dorsey that the time has come to delete Twitter), [Dorsey was taken to task]https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/jack-dorsey-twitter-interview_us_5c3e2601e4b01c93e00e2a00) for his company’s seeming inability - or reluctance, maybe? - to counteract the widespread harassment that has ripped through the platform since its launch in 2006. Feinberg honed in on the practice of doxxing journalists and other public figures, something both she and a number of colleagues have experienced.
“It’s a crapshoot as to whether or not Twitter is going to do anything about it,” Feinberg explained.
“That’s unacceptable,” said Dorsey.
But for Twitter’s support team, denying violations to their private information policy is famously acceptable. And Feinberg said as much, pushing Dorsey to definitively agree - or disagree - with his company’s policy of refusing to take action when home addresses or phone numbers are shared without consent and with malicious intent. Spoiler: he only kind of did, and pushed much of the onus on individual users, explaining that the reporting button was the only way Twitter can currently track doxxing occurrences.
Dorsey did, though, admit the current system is broken. And implied that while there were no immediate answers, he and his company were (maybe, sorta) working to enforce better anti-doxxing rules.
“You know, finding the report button isn’t the most obvious and intuitive right now. So that certainly slows things down,” he said. “I don’t know what it looks like right now, but we know what’s wrong with it. So, you know, that’s what we’re working on.”
While we wait around for these supposed improvements and that big, big reporting button, though, it’s vital to understand how best to protect yourself against trolls, when the actual platform is either unable or unwilling to step in.
If a threat of violence is specifically targeted at you, or your personal address is posted, then you are within your rights to file a police report. It’s important to temper your expectations, though; a detective may be assigned to your case, but an actual arrest is somewhat rare.
For a larger web of support, consider reaching out to civil rights advocacy groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center, Color of Change and CAIR, all of whom are armed with a helpful combination of resources. ProPublica’s Documenting Hate, a hate crimes reporting tool is another path of action, if you feel your experience needs to potentially be shared with a wider audience.