Twitter has always faced a certain level of criticism over a lack of response to harassment and abuse on the platform, and highly publicized incidents continue to discourage users of popular accounts from wanting to use the social media platform.
At the beginning of July, the Transit Union representing Toronto Transit Commission employees in Toronto tried to shut down the @TTChelps Twitter account after a series of abusive tweets were sent to employees running the account. The case went to arbitration, and while the account remains open, the arbitration found that the TTC did not do enough to protect its employees from harassment.
As many of Canada’s biggest brands move their customer service departments to Facebook and Twitter, more of these harassment complaints will doubtlessly also move online. Most times, a complaint is directed at a company account without considering a person must be running it, but sometimes attacks can also get personal.
The arbitrator decided that closing the Twitter account in question was not a useful outcome of the case. He did recommend that responses to this kind of personal abuse is to request that users delete offensive tweets, and to report those tweets to Twitter.
Twitter’s terms of service say that direct threats of violence or targeted abuse and harassment will not be tolerated. Though Twitter did not comment on this case in particular, the company did recently ban Breitbart writer Milo Yiannopoulos for this kind of behaviour, so perhaps the media company will start to take these incidents more seriously.