In what has become almost common for racist Americans President Obama has come under attack on his new Twitter account. The president was bombarded by racist and threatening tweets in the first days of his opening his Twitter account.
President uses the Twitter handle @POTUS the acronym for President of the United States. It didn’t take long for the racists to attack him personally using racial slurs and calling for his lynching.
The images and language directed at the President reflect the deep racial hatred that some people feel toward the first African-American president.
One post had a doctored image of President Obama’s famous “Hope” campaign poster. The image showed the president with his head in a noose, his eyes closed and his neck twisted as if broken. It was meant to appear as if he had been lynched. The word “HOPE” was replaced with “Rope.”
The picture was accompanied by the message “#arrestobama, #treason we need ‘ROPE FOR CHANGE.’ ” The message came from a user using the handle @jeffgully49. This was not @jeffgulley49’s first posted image of the president in a noose. His Twitter image shows President Obama behind Bars. “We still hang for treason, don’t we?” his post said.
@jeffgully49 is Jeff Gullickson of Minneapolis, MN. His posting got him a visit from the Secret Service on Thursday. When reached by the New York Times for comment Gullickson reponded with an email asking how much The New York Times would pay him for an interview.
Another Twitter user posted to the president with just two words: “Black monkey.” another person wrote “Get back in your cage monkey.”
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that the language directed at the president is “all too common on the Internet.” Earnest said that officials would not spend much time trying to block abusive commenters from the president’s account.
Another Twitter account, @BarackObama, owned by the Organization for Action, a liberal activist group, is regularly targeted by racist attacks.
President Obama is the first president to use the technology of the Internet to communicate his messages effectively. Top advisers to the president consider such hate filled speech as a small price to pay. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms provide the White House the opportunity to target the president’s message directly to the voters.
Dan Pfeiffer, President Obama’s former long time aide and advisor said, “The potential for anonymity allows people to say offensive, horrible things on Twitter that they would never say anywhere else, but we’re talking about a tiny fraction of the community.” Pfeiffer urged the president to engage on social media, including urging White House officials to create Twitter accounts.
Twitter has been criticized for not cracking down on so-called trolls. These are sometimes anonymous people who post abusive or inappropriate comments on the social networking site. Twitter does not police individual users or initiate action against them. But that appears to be changing.
In a note to his employees earlier this year Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wrote that he intended to start kicking trolls off of the platform “right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”
In April, Twitter updated its abuse policy making it tougher for trolls to flood Twitter with threats and harassment. Twitter’s changes expand the definition of violent threats to include indirect threats and tweets that promote violence. The social messaging giant has gone a step farther and created a tool that automatically flags tweets that seem likely to be abusive based on triggers including the age of the account and content that fits the pattern of previous tweets identified as abuse.
Twitter’s changes signal a shift in the company’s approach not only to abuse, but to growth. Twitter shareholders are applying pressure on the company to grow its monthly active user base. This left Twitter reluctant to stand up to abuse out of fear of jeopardizing its already declining user base. However over the last year Twitter’s management realized that the company stands to lose a lot more if it continues to let trolls post openly. Management has decided that it’s better to alienate destructive users if it means holding onto the good ones.
Costolo said problems with trolls are driving away the company’s users. “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years,” Costolo wrote in an internal memo. “It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”
Google is also taking a stand against the racist activity that infects their Google Maps website. Google has apologized after it was discovered that searches in the Washington, DC area containing the word “nigger” directed users to the White House. Another search of the words “nigger house” or “nigger king” directed the user to the home of President Barack Obama. Global searches for terms including “niggahouse” also return the White House as the number one search result.
Google explained in a blog post apologizing for the “mess up,” that the situation was caused because its Maps service uses content from across the web. Most of which isn’t vetted to match searches to locations. This model explains why a search for ‘failure’ used to serve U.S. President Geoge W. Bush as the top result, before the company implemented a change. Google said: “Our team has been working hard to fix this issue. Building upon a key algorithmic change we developed for Google Search, we’ve started to update our ranking system to address the majority of these searches—this will gradually roll out globally and we’ll continue to refine our systems over time. Simply put, you shouldn’t see these kinds of results in Google Maps, and we’re taking steps to make sure you don’t.”