Incidents like the recent hack of Leslie Jones’ website, and the stream of social media abuse that she dealt with before it, have brought the cyberbullying topic to the forefront for Twitter once again.
In the past, Twitter has been criticized for the way they’ve handled cyberbullying; there have been multiple reports of teenagers committing suicide because of negative interactions on the website over the years, and Leslie Jones isn’t the only celebrity to deal with that type of abuse.
According to Tech Times, Twitter is reportedly considering a safety feature that will make it easier for its users to block abusive language and content.
Sources from Twitter spoke anonymously, since the tool cannot be made public yet. Reportedly, it will allow users to filter offensive content like curse words or racial slurs. Twitter has had it in the works for about a year now.
Eventually, the tool will be sophisticated enough for users to filter and block any content at all including, for example, hashtags they aren’t interested in seeing on their timelines.
Tech Times notes that bullies may be forced to get creative to escape the filter, like using symbols to replace certain letters, but this initiative from the Twitter team would still be a step in the right direction.
Celebrities are becoming bigger targets of social media attacks, with Ghsotbusters star Leslie Jones probably being one of the more saddening incidents to date. Not only have bullies attacked her character, but also her race and gender using disturbing insults and imagery.
In her case, Leslie Jones’ position allowed her to meet Twitter’s CEO, Jack Dorsey, personally and deal with the situation, but not everyone has been so fortunate. Plus, the situation eventually extended beyond Twitter, even after some cyberbullying users had been suspended.
Jones’ website was hacked later, her personal information and nude photos leaked to the world. As The Inquisitr previously reported, a journalist who was suspended from Twitter for attacking her may have been behind the hack, but that is currently just a rumor.
— Mashable (@mashable) August 24, 2016
Fifth Harmony member Normani Kordei, as Billboard reports, told her followers she was leaving Twitter after the racist tweets simply became too much.
To my fans: pic.twitter.com/7yICp10G5Z
— Normani Kordei (@NormaniKordei) August 7, 2016
“I am taking a break from Twitter for now,” Kordei wrote. “I want to take this moment to say love goes further than hate in this world.”
— Revelist (@heyrevelist) August 8, 2016
Highly publicized incidents like these do bring out the more positive humans of the world, though, with fanbases banding together to show their favorite celebrities how much they appreciate them and to help them rise above the hate. Hashtags like #IStandWithLeslie and #IStandWithNormani trended on Twitter for days.
Leslie Jones’ fans sent in video clips to Seth Meyers encouraging her to keep her head high, while Fifth Harmony fans showed their support with signs during concerts on the group’s tour.
The harder social media sites make it for the negativity and hatred to grow, the better off everyone will be. It’s going to be next to impossible to stem the tide entirely, especially in the rapidly changing landscape of the internet, but steps in the right direction surely can’t hurt.
Instagram has a similar feature to the Twitter tool mentioned above, but it’s only available for business and “high profile” users right now. Celebrities on the platform could certainly stand to benefit from that tool on Instagram, if the outrageous Justin Bieber and Sofia Richie saga is any example. That entire mess led the 22-year-old pop star to delete his Instagram a few days ago, as Rolling Stone reported.
As people spend more time on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and countless others, it only stands to reason that the teams behind the sites should help make sure attacks like those on Leslie Jones and Normani Kordei happen less over time.
[Image via Bloomicon / Shutterstock.com]