About Time: Twitter to Fix Policies After Trolls Attack Zelda Williams


A few days after Robin Williams’ daughter Zelda Williams was cruelly bullied off of social media in the wake of her father’s death, Twitter announced it will make changes to prevent similar incidents in the future.

On Tuesday, two sick assholes tweeted Zelda Williams gory photos of a dead body manipulated to look like Robin Williams’ corpse. Williams was on Twitter and other sites opening up to fans about her father and the loss she was suffering. The images shook her up so badly, she told fans she could no longer continue on Twitter or social media and shut her messages down. Two people did that. Two sick, depraved, messed up people.

The outrage over her bullying was immediate. A lot of the anger was directed at Twitter, with users asking why in the holy hell the company didn’t have a better way of quickly reporting and banning the users who were doing this. But today, Twitter announced it expand those policies. Via The Wrap:

“We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter,” Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement. “We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one. This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”

YES YES YES YES. Look at that.

Some of the feedback we get on articles like Zelda Williams’ bullying expresses frustration that we keep posting about these trolls—that we’re giving them “attention” and that we should rather just “ignore” them.

Folks. That is not the answer. Ignoring it doesn’t make it go away. It just gets worse because no one is there to speak up for the victims or demand accountability for those who are complicit. This is why we do it. This is why we push back against this shit. Because when we stand up and demand media companies to be accountable for the abuse that they allow in their products, change does happen.

I’m excited about this proposed change, but I’m also going to be watching Twitter and how it actually handles this kind of trolling in the future. (That’s a pretty vague statement. It’s a good start, but still.) If more companies their money where their mouth is, we actually might not ever have to write another story about a person being tormented like this.

Image via Getty.

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