4 things Twitter should be working on and leaving the like button alone

A young woman checks her Twitter account
A young woman checks her Twitter account

According to Business Insider, Twitter is currently causing some unhappiness amongst its users due to rumours that the site might be removing the “like” button from tweets.

During a Twitter event, CEO Jack Dorsey suggested he would be getting rid of the function “soon” to enhance user experience, but the Twitter communications team is still very vague about the actual plan.

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"As we've been saying for a while, we are rethinking everything about the service to ensure we are incentivising healthy conversation, that includes the like button," Twitter Comms tweeted. "We are in the early stages of the work and have no plans to share right now."

But many of the platform’s users are rightfully pointing out that Twitter still has a lot of work to do when it comes to some of their bigger issues and they need to fix those first before taking away simple features that users actually find practical. 

You know, like blocking white supremacists and hate mongerers from trolling people online. 

Wired reports Cesar Sayoc, the man arrested for the recent attempted pipe-bomb attacks, was once reported to Twitter for his violent tweets, but the company apparently said his posts didn’t “violate community guidelines.”

READ MORE: Have we become obsessed with a culture of online shaming?

These are the issues that Jack and his team at Twitter could be working on instead: 

Listen to your users and their reports

How often do we hear stories of Twitter reports not being taken seriously? If Twitter listened to their users about potentially dangerous trolls who post inflammatory content and say dangerous things, then it would go a long way into making Twitter safer for everyone. Especially women and POC or the LGBTQ+ community who are often subjected to online harassment.

Ban the Nazis and white supremacists

Twitter’s rules already prohibit abusive behaviour like harassment targeted at specific people or groups, so why are they still allowing white supremacists to use the site all willy nilly without any repercussions baffles me and completely disregards that guideline. And it’s really dangerous if someone gets doxxed (their private information leaked online).

Stop verifying extremists

That little blue tick gives people clout in a lot of ways. There’s a legitimacy and authority behind it. Verified extremists include conspiracy theorist Dinesh D’Souza and right-wing pundit Ann Coulter. The Independent notes that white supremacists Jason Kessler and Richard Spencer were also verified at one point, although their checkmarks have been revoked.

Don’t suspend people when they’re just defending themselves

Twitter has been criticised in the past for suspending users who defend themselves against trolls or say something on Twitter when they were called out in public.

In a New York Times op-ed published in November 2017, Thorne N. Melcher wrote that her account had been suspended when she called a troll “garbage” for harassing her. In October 2017, The Guardian reported that Rose McGowan was suspended for tweeting “Ben Affleck f*ck off” after he claimed not to know about Harvey Weinstein’s sexual abuse.

Twitter has a lot of issues it needs to iron out, but for some reason the site thinks that fixing problems that aren’t even problems is somehow going to improve user experience and make their platform better when it won’t. 

No matter what you use the site for, if it’s chatting to friends, keeping up with news, tweeting political opinions or all of the above, twitter should be able to protect you when you’re using that platform so you can feel safe doing so.

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