Twitter is looking to revamp its user-protection policies after Zelda Williams, the daughter of comedian Robin Williams, was run off of the social site by abuse in the wake of her father’s apparent suicide.
“We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter,” Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, said in a statement. “We have suspended a number of accounts related to this issue for violating our rules and we are in the process of evaluating how we can further improve our policies to better handle tragic situations like this one.
“This includes expanding our policies regarding self-harm and private information, and improving support for family members of deceased users.”
Zelda Williams abandoned her Twitter and Instagram accounts Tuesday after saying at least two people were sending her Photoshopped images of her father’s dead body and other disturbing messages — some blaming her for father’s death.
“I’m sorry. I should’ve risen above,” she wrote in her final tweet. “Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye.”
The episode proves that, with the anonymity of the Internet, some people will be horrible no matter the situation.
Earlier, Williams, 25, had asked her followers to report the abusive accounts to Twitter, but said they appeared to be creating new accounts after being banned by the site. She later deleted her request, which called the abusive messages “cruel and unnecessary.”
On Instagram, she also addressed negativity targeting her in an announcement that she’d be taking a break from the photo-sharing app.
“I will be leaving this account for a bit while I heal and decide if I’ll be deleting it or not,” she wrote. “In this difficult time, please try to be respectful.”
Williams also touched on the personal attacks, albeit in a more light-hearted way, in a statement she posted on blogging site Tumblr.
“To those he touched who are sending kind words, know that one of his favorite things in the world was to make you all laugh,” she wrote. “As for those who are sending negativity, know that some small, giggling part of him is sending a flock of pigeons to your house to poop on your car. Right after you’ve had it washed. After all, he loved to laugh too.”
Despite the attacks, the vast majority of social-media messages posted to Zelda Williams’ accounts were positive and supportive of her decision to take some time away from the Web.
“You did nothing wrong @zeldawilliams,” one Twitter follower wrote. “Some people are just plain evil.”
Robin Williams, 63, was found dead at his California home on Monday. Investigators suspect he hanged himself and say he appears to have attempted to cut his left wrist with a knife beforehand.