‘Not just plain insults or jokes, but absolutely serious threats of violence’.
A German-Israeli satirical artist who claims that Twitter has steadfastly failed to deal with hate tweets has taken to stencilling the offensive tweets onto the street directly in front of the company’s Hamburg headquarters.
Shahak Shapira posted a video of himself on YouTube showing himself and fellow activists stencilling tweets such as “Let’s gas the Jews” and “Germany needs a final solution to Islam,” both direct references to the Nazi regime’s World War Two genocide of Europe’s Jews.
The protest of course had significantly more poignancy given that it took place Germany itself. “If Twitter forces me to see these things, then they’ll have to see them too,” the artist said in the video, posted on Monday this week. Shapira described the real life copies of the tweets as “not just plain insults or jokes, but absolutely serious threats of violence”.
Reported but not removed, unlike the motorised machine that removed the stencilled tweets hours after they were finished.
Shapira claims that he has reported around 300 comments directly to in the last six months, but has only received nine replies. Each of the replies he did receive stated that there had been no violation of Twitter’s policy.
“I haven’t received a single mail telling me the tweet was actually removed”, said Mr Shapira, adding that “occasionally, Twitter would remove a tweet without letting me know – although they promise to inform you as soon as your case is processed which makes it impossible for me to say where my reports ended up.”
Twitter used spokesman and not Twitter to respond to journalist’s questions
Twitter told Reuters the company did not comment on the specifics of individual accounts or tweets for reasons of privacy. It did however say that the company strongly enforced its rules and had recently stepped up its policing of abuse on its network.
Shapira said that Facebook had been much more responsive than Twitter. In the same time frame, Shapira noted that the company removed 80 percent of the 150 hate speech comments he reported.