Ex-Twitter CEO Apologizes Again For Site's Online Harassment
Dick Costolo, ex-Twitter CEO, apologizes for Twitter abuse problems
Dick Costolo. Ethan Miller/Getty Images Former Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has done an about-face on his opinion of the company as a haven for online bullies and the part he may have played in that.
At the Upfront Summit in Los Angeles, he suggested he had not paid enough mind to the problem and missed a chance to do something about it when he ran the place, Dan Primack of the news website Axios reports.
"I wish I could turn back the clock and go back to 2010 and stop abuse on the platform by creating a very specific bar for how to behave on the platform," Costolo said. He added: "I take responsibility for not taking the bull by the horns."
That attitude is quite different from the one he expressed last summer, when a highly critical article about Twitter's abuse problem and Costolo's role, or lack thereof, in stopping it. The BuzzFeed report described Twitter as having "virtually been optimized to accommodate" abuse because of the company's culture of leaning toward free and open speech on the platform.
The BuzzFeed article also accused Costolo of secretly censoring abusive tweets directed at President Barack Obama during a question-and-answer session on the site.
In tweets at the time, Costolo called the article and that accusation "total nonsense and laughably false as anybody who would speak on the record would tell you."
"Absurd," he continued. "Shows a lack of understanding of the very basics of how trust and safety works at Twitter. Sensationalist nonsense."
But amid the rise of President Donald Trump, who has used Twitter at times to spread verifiably false information and to call out his opponents by name, Costolo is more introspective about abuse on the social network.
He told the crowd at Upfront he had started to think Twitter could address the abuse problem by having employees manually curate tweets to emphasize authoritative voices and their opinions over hyperbole, Primack reports.
Costolo left the CEO job in mid-2015, replaced by Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey.
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