On Sunday, Twitter suspended former Big Pharma CEO Martin Shkreli’s account for aggressively pursuing Lauren Duca, a freelance journalist. After denying Shkreli’s request to be his date to the inauguration, his obsession for her became much more evident. Not to mention, creepy.
Martin Shkreli: This is not OK
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 8, 2017
Anyone who is on social media has more than likely met an internet troll or two. However, not everyone has experienced just how obsessive they can be.
Over the weekend, former pharma CEO Martin Shkreli began contacting Lauren Duca, a freelance journalist who had a massive viral hit when she penned a Teen Vogue opinion piece that argued Donald Trump had conned the American public.
After seeing her on television, Shkreli began focusing all of his attention on the writer. In just a few days, he managed to,
- Direct-message Duca to invite her to be his date at the inauguration
- Change his Twitter bio to read “I have a small crush on @laurenduca (hope she doesn’t find out)”
- Create a collage of images of Duca as his Twitter header
- Change his profile picture to a photoshopped image of Duca and her husband, where Shkreli’s face is replacing Duca’s husband’s
Around 11 a.m. Sunday, Duca, who has over 130,000 followers, shared Shkreli’s disturbing images and bio on Twitter. After instantly going viral, it only took two hours for Twitter to suspend Shkreli’s account,
The Twitter Rules prohibit targeted harassment, and we will take action on accounts violating those policies.
Is Twitter failing to protect its users to the best of their ability?
Although Twitter quickly responded to Duca’s plea and Shkreli’s actions, their policy not to comment on individual accounts continues to be a big concern for 2017. Despite Twitter’s attempts to protect its users, they are still failing to control online harassment to the best of their ability.
In fact, Twitter has a history of allowing offensive behavior. For example, it took the company several days to ban users that were responsible for photoshopping images of ISIS beheadings.
Then, just last month, the company chose not to take action against Mike Cernovich. Despite him continuously insinuating that online comedian Vic Berger IV was a child molester, Cernovich’s remained active.
According to a BuzzFeed New’s survey, 90% of 2,700 users say Twitter didn’t do anything when they reported misuse. Clearly, something needs to be done, and CEO Jack Dorsey agrees, or so he says.
During late December, Dorsey posted a tweet that requested suggestions to improve the company’s platform. After the majority of users asked that Twitter be more observant and consistent on abuse, Dorsey tweeted,
We definitely need to be more transparent about why and how. Big priority for this year.
Dorsey and Twitter had the opportunity to do just that during the first week of the new year. However, they chose not to, and their response, of course, is open to interpretation by the Twitter community.