Update: I’m back on Twitter now after realizing that walking away from things like this doesn’t make them better. So I’ll do what I can to raise the level of conversation and stand against things I see as wrong. And for what it’s worth, Twitter did seem to zap the account used to do the worst of the threatening against Wu. So maybe they’re not as culpable as I suspected.
Brianna Wu is the head of a small game development company. They make a cool iOS game called Revolution 60.
Tonight, she started getting death threats on Twitter from a sad little man who feels threatened by her very existence. But in this case, he tweeted her home address and stated that he was coming over with a large knife, intending violence to Brianna and her family.
Twitter did nothing.
When others tried to bring this to Twitter’s attention, those reports were automatically rejected. Brianna called the police and left her home, and I hope she’s safe.
But as long as Twitter allows this kind of assault (and yes, threatening violence is itself a crime, separate from battery) to go on, I can’t be a part of that community. It’s for the same reason that I left Reddit, and I haven’t returned there either. I’ll miss some of the people I got to know on Twitter, but I have to draw the line somewhere.
Will Twitter even notice my lack of participation? Of course not. But all I can do is take my time and attention elsewhere. Your time and attention is all Twitter has, and their entire business depends on keeping it. I’m taking mine away, and if enough people get fed up and do the same, maybe they’ll notice. Maybe they’ll change. Maybe Twitter will become a place where people can feel safe again.
But until that happens, I won’t be there. Anyone who wants to talk to me can do so the old fashioned way, by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.