Let’s talk about Twitter’s ‘Report Tweet’ Function

Through my blogging, personal life and work responsibilities, I have a social media profile on virtually every platform. What I’ve found over the years is that Twitter is largely the platform/home for racists to spew their racism and to recruit people into their racist circles.

I have a few theories as to why. Firstly, I believe racists aren’t going to be as vocally racist on Instagram because they don’t want to put a face to their racism through their photos. Secondly, I think that Donald Trump has given racists more of a voice on Twitter over the past three and somewhat years. Please don’t misunderstand that statement, because I am not saying that the racism started when he became president. I am merely stating that racists got a lot more vocal and a lot more prominent when he became president.

Racism has always been a part of our society. It has just, in recent years, become a lot more prevalent than any other time I can remember in my 31 years of life. I do believe that Donald Trump has played a role in that. I do believe he has emboldened racists to believe that their behaviour is moral, just, acceptable and completely okay.

Why am I talking about this today?

I spent a decent amount of time over the past week reporting tweets for racism and hate speech on Twitter.

This past Monday a horrifying incident happened in a nearby city where a Doctor was bludgeoned to death in an examination room in his own clinic. Within just a few hours of the attack, video footage of the suspect being put into the back of a police car was circulating Twitter. The only characteristic that racist Twitter could take from the video was that the suspect had dark skin.

Racist Twitter went off. I mean they unloaded.

They didn’t know a single fucking thing about the suspect other than he had dark skin and they took that and they ran with that. Reading the comments from racist Twitter made me angry, upset and frustrated that I have to call myself the same species as these people. I don’t really want to repeat too much of what was said because it was so disgusting but it included comments (on the least awful end of the spectrum) like ‘this city has gone to hell since the blacks invaded’ and ‘Trudeau lets in these druggie, criminal gangsters and they murder our doctors. End immigration now.”

Hundreds, if not thousands, of comments directed towards insulting, demeaning and devaluing people of colour in our country circulated to the point that it was trending nationally. It was racist and a lot of it was hate speech.

I’ve been in a lot of discussions, arguments and full blown fights with racist twitter over the years. What I’ve learned is that, if someone is being racist on Twitter, you’re not going to change their mind no matter how much logic, kindness and reasoning you provide.

So, seeing these comments and feeling bad for this doctor and his family, I decided to take a different route.

I reported the tweets.

If I saw it and it was racism or direct hate speech against people of colour I reported the tweet. I did so because, and I cannot stress this enough, SOMEONE’S SKIN COLOUR HAS NOT A SINGLE FUCKING THING TO DO WITH WHETHER OR NOT THEY WILL COMMIT A CRIME.

Whew, sorry for yelling. I just needed to get that out.

The day following the attack, after next of kin had been notified, the identity of the Doctor was released to the public. And again, racist twitter went off. This time it wasn’t so much in the form of hate speech, but more in the form of proving themselves to be complete fucking idiots.

The Doctor was a Caucasian man who had immigrated to Canada from South Africa. Racist Twitter, doing what racist twitter does, began making comments like ‘Naw, he’s not from Africa, he’s white’. There was a lot of confusion from racist twitter about how someone from Africa could be white. I’ve long been of the belief that racism stems from lack of intelligence, lack of awareness, lack of education. Feel free to disagree with that belief if you would like, but, hearing people confused because about the fact that all people from Africa aren’t black really hammers that point home for me.

On this day I again took to reporting tweets that were racist and contained hate speech. Why? I know I’m not going to change the opinion of someone who is a racist by reporting their tweets. I just think that perhaps if enough of us reported tweets containing racism and hate speech to Twitter, they’d realize the platform of racism and hate speech they’re cultivating and do something about it.

I know I’m only one person and I know people will disagree with my reporting the tweets or tell me I’m wasting my time, but I have to try.

Well, anyways, fast forward to today. I was given notification from twitter for every single tweet, every single fucking tweet that I reported, that Twitter did not deem them to be racist, harmful or believe that these tweets were promoting hate speech.

To me, this 100% proves my point that Twitter is a platform for racists to be racists, for it to be okay. Racist twitter isn’t just the people making racist tweets, it’s the people who read reported tweets and deem them okay and appropriate and say they do not violate Twitter’s community guidelines.

If racism, hate speech, threats of violence against people of colour don’t violate Twitter’s community guidelines, what does? How bad does something have to get before they actually do something about it? Because whether you’re a keyboard warrior in middle of nowhere Canada raging on people of colour because of one man committing a horrendous and heinous crime, or you’re the President of the United States, I don’t fucking care. You should be held accountable for the things you say. And, it says a lot about the beliefs Twitter stands for when they believe it’s more important to promote hate speech then to denounce hate speech.

I’m so angry as I right this. I can’t even come up with a conclusion to this other than saying that the ‘Report Tweet’ button on Twitter doesn’t do a damn thing. Twitter is a place for racists to be celebrated, apparently.

A man lost his life. Kids lost their father. A woman lost her husband. That’s what matters. Anyone who thinks the colour of the suspect’s skin is important or the birth place of the doctor is important is absolutely in the wrong.

33 thoughts on “Let’s talk about Twitter’s ‘Report Tweet’ Function

  1. The simple act of reporting. It never occurred to me. I see it sometimes and it annoys me sometimes infuriated me but I never thought about reporting it. I’m not on Twitter much but I will definitely look into this next time I am.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’d like to think that enough people reported it twitter would take notice, but honestly, I’m doubting it. There’s just too much racism on Twitter to be able to conquer it.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I clicked like, not because I like what I just read but because I like that you wrote it. I am appalled but regrettably not all that surprised. I am just glad to know there are young people like yourself who actually are outraged and want to do something. I certainly feel your frustration. I actually live with a white African.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It really drives me crazy that there are so many people in this world who think that people from Africa are black and that is it. Then again, they’re most definitely the same people that think that Canadian’s can only be white… ugh. people.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. His poor family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now. And to think that one day if his kids decide to google him, they’ll see his legacy riddled with all of this racism.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to engage them a lot. I wasted a lot of time in doing so and made myself really angry in the process. Education is the cure for closed-minded racism and no racist is willing to be educated on twitter. At least not from what I’ve encountered.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. My hope for the Doctor’s family is that they forever get to remember him as a loving father and husband and devoted doctor who looked after the well being of everyone he knew. Though I know one day they ultimately will see it, I hope that they don’t see the comments written about him on Twitter. Racist twitter should not be able to control a man’s legacy.

      That makes me so happy to hear that you took a stand against someone in person. Honestly, it can be really difficult when people are being racist around you. It’s intimidating and scary to deal with the potential blowback of someone that could become unhinged if you did something like kick them out. Hearing that you did that is really impressive. Racists need to be put in their place.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Donald Trump being president made them feel protected; mainly because he said he would actually do so..

    Twitter is sort of a cesspool; 10% of the US population on Twitter is so loud and the media covers it they may as well run the country. Well, they do.

    Twitter was cool on Motorola phones with number dial texting; I don’t know why/how it still exists.

    That’s my negative contribution today. 🥳

    Liked by 3 people

      1. The attorney general Barr isn’t any better.

        You’re right though. They don’t show their face but there’s a pseudo intellectual reformation where they do and appear to be “intellectual scholars”.
        Canada is to blame for that one. 😘
        lol.. not really but Jordan Peterson is to blame for a lot of global Alt right crap in many ways. In REALLY don’t like him.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I find that most of the racists I have had the misfortune to encounter online tend to be woefully uninformed about the world. So, according to those boors, there are not any whites who are native to Africa, they say?

    I am willing to bet that there are many Afrikaners (or Boers) who would tell them otherwise.

    I’m sorry that you have had to see the seamier side of human nature on Twitter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Standing in my kitchen, reading this and nodding and muttering ‘yes! Heck yeah!’ Husband looking at me strangely. Fantastic piece. Articulate and necessary. We all need to get angry like this.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I have Twitter for my other blog, but I have not gone on the platform in YEARS. Not because of how toxic it is, but it’s just not my preferred platform for staying engaged with the Internet world. But from what I hear, it’s a cesspool for extreme views and keyboard wars that can upset even the Buddha himself. I’m sorry you’ve read a lot of horrible things on there, and it’s good you’re reporting these hateful posts…but if it gets overwhelming, it’s okay to take a break and get off Twitter. Because it’s not the real world, as social media magnifies the worst in humanity. Take care of yourself, V, and know that you’re doing the best you can to make the Internet just a bit of a better place.

    Like

    1. Thank you ❤ I know you're right and I hear you completely. Unfortunately, the work account that I run shares an audience with a lot of these people being as it's a large organization and the city where this happened is only an hour up the highway. Guess I just need to remind myself to not read it when I don't have to.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. So thank you for being active and making a difference! Even though racist twitter…which I agree that’s a perfect name…doesn’t do anything, you are by reporting. Your standing up for what you believe and trying to make it stop. Another area twitter could give 2 shits about is underage porn! I’ve reported multiple accounts of 14 and 15 year olds who are nude or in inappropriate scenes and nope…twitter does not remove them! perverted racist twitter

    Like

  8. There is a blankness to the systems that define our experience. Is racism a universal wrong? No. It would be great if that wasn’t true. Can you teach a social media system to enforce the complexity and respect for others? No. Do social media systems have to respect rights at all? No, it’s a private server. Every second on Twitter today there were 9,096 tweets tweeted. Like any larger network, the reporting and enforcement is automated. We know it’s an unfair system and yet here we are.

    Like

  9. It astounds me sometimes what social media platforms finds acceptable for people to leave on there.
    I don’t have a Twitter but still use Facebook. Once I reported a video which showed the aftermath of a car crash. The person filming went to one guy lying in the road looking bloody and beaten up, not moving, not breathing, eyes open, neck at an odd angle. This person was very clearly dead, and the person kept filming his face and body close up, and the rest of the scene.
    But no, apparently they’d taken a look at it once it was reported and found that it did not contravene their ‘Community Standards’. You have to wonder what their so-called standards are, for that to be acceptable…

    Like

  10. I agree with you on your thoughts of where these racists are. Yes, Twitter is their den of hate. Good on you for reporting it. We all have to have a 0 tolerance policy for any hate speech.

    Like

  11. I also feel that Twitter has become a place for just spreading hatred. I also reported tweets about hatred and vulgarity but Twitter didn’t find them offensive. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. all are the same. They are biased and dumb.

    Like

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