A leading British politician has criticised Twitter for their handling of abuse and called on it to ban racist words which she says can “never be used in a positive way”.
Luciana Berger, the Labour party’s shadow Minister for Public Health, has spoken for the first time since being targeted on Twitter with thousands of tweets attacking her for being Jewish.
Miss Berger says that at the height of the abuse, the police told her that she was the subject of 2,500 messages in the space of three days using the #filfthyjewbitch hashtag.
“Online hate needs to be taken as seriously as offline hate – but it isn’t,” said Miss Berger to the Telegraph. “Twitter’s response isn’t good enough. It has a responsibility to do more to protect its users. The site is letting me and many others down who have been the subject of lots of hate. It could start by proactively banning racist words which aren’t allowed to printed in newspapers or broadcast on TV that could never be used in a positive way – such as kike – a derogative and anti-Semitic term for describing a Jew.”
Miss Berger reached out to Twitter UK’s head of public policy, Nick Pickles, to have her abuser’s accounts blocked and the offensive tweets taken down.
“Twitter let me down. It took well over a week for some of the abusive content to be removed and even when it was, the approach was sporadic and very haphazard,” Miss Berger said.
The attacks, which began in October this year, were led by white supremacists and neo-Nazis, Miss Berger believes. The incidents led to her upgrading the security in her home.
“The whole episode has shocked and surprised me. I now always travel with someone,” she said.
“We’re working hard to improve the experience of people who encounter abuse on Twitter and have recently made changes so that reporting content is easier,” said a Twitter spokesperson. “Blocking individual words is generally ineffective at stopping unwanted behaviour and may incorrectly block legitimate content.”
(Source: The Telegraph.)