Twitter Trolling Is Dampening The Olympics

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Twitter is capable of everything, even putting a damper on the world’s most-anticipated athletic event. Fans who were quite excited about joining the virtual live analysis of events like gymnastics and cycling are now not so happy with the increasing number of trolls that are taunting theie competitor nations’ teams and athletes on Twitter, says the Boston Herald.

Chinese trolled Australian athlete

The worst trolling on Twitter came from Chinese users and was directed at Australian swimmer Mack Horton. After calling out  Chinese favorite Sun Yang’s history of being banned for doping, Horton bested Yang. Just hours later, many new Twitter accounts were created by Chinese fans for the only purpose of trolling the Australian swimmer.

The anonymous trollers, who were unchecked by Twitter, called Horton almost every bad name in the book and even managed to get the hashtag #apologizetoSunYang trending on the social media platform. The strange uproar was possibly coordinated by a group with new accounts increasingly being created just to troll the Australian swimmer, the newspaper says.

In addition, a user similarly named Mark Horton was also on the receiving end of the wrath by the Chinese. After being thrown insults like “snake” and “loser,” the random British user was compelled to declare that he wasn’t the Australian swimmer Mack Horton.

Twitter again fails to check trolls

For Twitter, it does not really say much for a group of unverified people to be able to clutter up the feeds of many spectators and fans looking for the latest news on Rio. What really has placed Twitter on such a downward spiral is its habit of sitting back and allowing conversations to devolve into incivility. Not only is the social network unable to harness the power of the world’s biggest athlete event, but it also failed to control the hundreds of profiles created only to insult Horton.

There are other instances too. For instance, Twitter lets political extremists enter conversations on the big athletic event. The social network has always said that one user’s free speech is actually the hate speech of another user. Earlier, Hope Solo, Team USA’s soccer goalie, was trolled with chants like “Zika.”

Becky Adlington, a British medalist, hosted a Q&A session on Twitter during which users asked their questions with the hashtag #AskBecky. The virtual event was canceled after it was commandeered by abusive tweets. Adlington, who is a double-gold medalist, said she blocked “thousands” of people on Twitter after the 2012 competition.

Such instances pose a very important question for Twitter’s management: will athletes be able to use Twitter if this taunting and insulting continues?

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