Twitter ‘too slow to remove abuse’, claims MP

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper is aiming to stop online abuse
Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper is aiming to stop online abuse

Social media platform Twitter is not acting quickly enough to remove abusive comments.

That is the warning from Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper, who chairs the Reclaim the Internet campaign, set up to tackle threats, harassment, hatred and extremism online.

The campaign group teamed up with women’s rights organisation the Fawcett Society to report “vile” tweets being posted on the platform in the middle of August.

These included the racist and sexist abuse of Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP Diane Abbott, anti-semitic abuse of Liverpool Wavertree MP Diane Abbott, Islamophobia and threats of rape .

But the groups say it wasn’t until a public challenge by Ms Cooper and Fawcett CEO Sam Smethers, that some of the posts were removed.

Ms Cooper said: “Twitter accepted that these posts breached their standards but a week later they still hadn’t responded and done anything about it. They were just too slow.”

In a public letter to the UK Managing Director of Twitter, the pair said there were still “long delays” in the company’s dealing with content which violated its standards.

They wrote: “We understand progress has been made in tackling abuse and that internal data showed that Twitter is ‘taking action’ against 10 times more abusive accounts than this time last year. This is, of course, welcome.

“However, we still do not believe you are going far enough or acting quickly enough to make your site an abuse-free zone.”

Although, there is more work to be done, Ms Cooper said Reclaim the Internet’s work with Twitter, Youtube and Facebook to tackle extremism, racism, sexism, abuse and harassment had led to improvements.

“All of the companies have done a lot more since we started challenging them to raise their standards,” she said.