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People hold up signs at a Stop Asian Hate rally in Chicago on March 27. Shirley Wang’s phone wouldn’t stop buzzing as the hurtful tweets flooded in. Earlier that day, the 26-year-old Harvard student posted a thread of tweets about anti-Asian racism, prompting more than 100 replies.
“We must fight anti-Asian racism without fueling anti-Blackness (calls for increased policing are unacceptable),” Wang tweeted on Feb. 14.
While some Twitter users praised Wang for her remarks, online trolls hurled insults at her. “Apologize for corona first,” an anonymous Twitter account replied. Other users told Wang she had a “mental disorder,” was “dumb” or a “Bozo,” with some users adding a clown emoji in their replies.
Wang reported dozens of tweets to Twitter for harassment — until she simply got tired of clicking the same button over and over. Hours later, she received an influx of emails from Twitter, informing her that most of the tweets she reported didn’t violate the company’s rules.
“That was in its own weird way almost more upsetting than the tweets themselves,” she said.
Twitter’s response underscores the confusing and inconsistent attempts by social media to stamp out racist and hurtful content — efforts that have fallen short of curbing the […]