NYT on Twitter: "hate speech bounded only by a character limit"

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If it seems rough that the New York Times would publish an op-ed so plainly holding Twitter responsible for publishing hate speech, remember that it’s 2016 and the gloves are off.

It warns users they may not “threaten other people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender” and various other traits. Yet it often fumbles the enforcement. Charlie Warzel of BuzzFeed News unearthed a doozy last week.

After a user who identified herself as Kathleen posted a tweet criticizing the Trump campaign, a Twitter member going by Adorable Deplorable directed a message back at her featuring a photograph of a beheaded man — apparently an ISIS victim — and the words, “Your [sic] heading for a deep hole.”

Twitter forced the photo’s removal after BuzzFeed’s inquiries, but it initially told Kathleen that the post did not violate its policies. This is apparently common. In a BuzzFeed survey of Twitter users, about 90 percent of those who said they had reported abuse said their complaints went unheeded.

The odd part, in a nutshell: Twitter seems able to quickly and comprehensively squelch stuff that offends brands and governments, so why is it so slow to deal with abuse?

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