And it is hate spam. In light of the recent discovery that anti-Semites and neo-Nazis have been harassing and threatening Jewish writers on various social media platforms (I can’t believe I just wrote social media platforms…), it’s clear Twitter needs to do something about its hate spam problem (boldface mine):
Years ago, Facebook made a policy decision that steered the company towards identity verification in order to cut down on duplicate, spam, and troll accounts. As the internet has become a larger and hairier place, this policy has not eliminated, but at least greatly reduced, the incidence of spam that most users see.
Meanwhile Twitter, perhaps desperate for growth, has left its signup process wide open to abuse. There essentially is no gatekeeper, which is why it is laden with trolls. Racism, sexism, misogyny, hate and anger of all stripes finds a home on its timeline. Many famous users, like Louis CK and Lena Dunham, have deleted their Twitter profiles, or at least the app, to limit their exposure to abuse.
I realize my suggestion would make Twitter less accessible to lower income people, and disproportionately so, but if Twitter required a credit card or some other form of potential online payment to gain a small number of accounts, they could cut down on hate spam. A payment to use Twitter wouldn’t be required, however, if the terms of service were violated, two things would happen:
1) The offender gets hit with a very small fine.
2) Most spammers aren’t going to get a new credit card just to hound someone. The hate spammer’s form of payment could either be ‘suspended’ for a period of time or given a lifetime ban (depending on the number of offenses, type of offense, etc.).
Alternatively, some form of ID could be submitted (e.g., driver’s license).
Admittedly, this system would require Twitter to upgrade its security. But Twitter needs to do something to prevent anyone from engaging in multiple spam attacks. It has been an intermittent cesspool for a while now (something women are definitely aware of).