Twitter's CEO Took Open Questions, And Thousands Wanted To Know What He Plans To Do About Bullying And Harassment

Dick Costolo

Getty / Steve Jennings

Twitter reported earnings Tuesday, and the company's CEO, Dick Costolo, was interviewed on CNBC.

The network invited people on Twitter to ask him questions using the hashtag #AskCostolo.

The main thing on people's minds: How Twitter deals with issues regarding user safety and privacy. Advertisement

According to Twitter analytics tool Topsy, the top tweet using that hashtag was a call to action for people who have been harassed on Twitter to ask the CEO what the company was doing in regards to harassment:

CNBC reports that more than 30% of the questions "were related to user safety, privacy, and abuse." That's about 2,500 people.

Last year, Twitter rolled out an easier way to report abuse. But as ReadWrite's Selena Larson points out, reporting harassment on the social network isn't easy. It can sometimes take months for the social network to respond to complaints.

When asked about privacy, Costolo alluded to Twitter's implementation of two-factor authentication, which requires you to type in a second password sent to your phone via text message. He also said, "We have a whole product team focused on user safety and privacy, and we'll continue to invest in that as we become increasingly the world's information network, obviously it's the case that we need to take that seriously and address it."

But as ReadWrite's Larson notes, CNBC didn't ask him about harassment or safety. "It could have been an opportunity for the company to address users' concerns over safety and harassment on Twitter, but the questions were never asked," she writes. Harassment and safety issues are a big concern on the social network.Advertisement

As several people on Twitter noted, the company's user safety policy doesn't address how the company will deal with the abuser, but rather advises what people should do if they are being harassed. This includes blocking or muting the user.

Many complained that the burden is on the victims of abuse on Twitter, and Twitter doesn't do enough to keep harassers off the network.

Twitter's Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety, was hired in 2008 to police the dark side of Twitter. "There are bad things out there, but I work alongside so many people trying to stop it," she told Forbes in an interview earlier this month. Advertisement

But according to people who use Twitter, there's still more that needs to be done. Here are some of the questions users tweeted at Costolo this week: