Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has acknowledged—not for the first time—that harassment and abuse are a problem on the platform, and says he is committed to helping “increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress.” How exactly the company plans to do that isn’t clear, but Dorsey said Twitter is working with a number of groups and services to try and identify both healthy and unhealthy conversation and find ways of decreasing the latter.
We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation, and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress.
— jack (@jack) March 1, 2018
As well-meaning as Dorsey statements are, it’s hard to feel optimistic about Twitter’s chances of actually removing all the abuse, or of creating some kind of utopian ideal of “healthy conversation.” For one thing, the company has been promising to do this for the past year or more, without much sign of success. On top of that, healthy conversation is something that typically occurs between small groups of people—it’s not at all clear that such a thing can even exist on a platform that connects hundreds of millions of people instantaneously. And even if it can, it’s not going to be easy.