Twitter bears the loss of CNBC Anchor Kelly Evans as she leaves the platform to pursue a social media-free lifestyle and agrees that social “churn” may rise in the coming years. The news of Evans’ departure was brought to light by her colleague Carl Quintanilla on Wednesday.
Evans left at a time when the micro-blogging site is dealing with a serious issue of harassment of female users. Women have been complaining about the issue for years, but unfortunately, Twitter has failed to prevent targeted harassment of its users. Last year, former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo admitted that the problem is severe, and that “we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform.”
Comedian Leslie Jones contacted Twitter this week and asked the micro-blogging platform to make more effort to stop such harassment after she received a flood of racist and sexist messages on her wall. After Jones surfaced the tweets, which included several photos of apes, the micro-blogging site released a verification policy that incorporates ways for select users to weed out abusive tweets.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced a broad crackdown of abusers and banned Breitbart editor Milo Yiannopoulos, a conservative writer who took part in the tweets aimed at Jones. He wrote under the widely-followed @nero handle. The social media platform suspended his Twitter account after he posted offensive tweets about the Ghostbusters actress. On Wednesday, Yiannopoulos claimed that the micro-blogging giant was denying him free speech.
Twitter far from done
On the same day it permanently banned the outspoken conservative from the platform, the micro-blogging firm announced that it will let all its users apply for “Verified Account” status. The company made the online request form for verification available to anyone, but it did say that only accounts that are determined to be of public interest will receive the badge of honor.
To apply for verification, users must set their tweets to “public” and fill in a form with a verified e-mail address, phone number, birthday details and website. The social platform may demand a scan of a government-issued ID as well, like a driver’s license or passport.
According to Twitter, it is not done with tackling online abuse and is continuously trying to improve the identification and prevention of attackers.
In a statement, the micro-blogging giant said, “We know many people believe we have not done enough to curb this type of behavior on Twitter. We agree.”