A former Twitter executive claimed to Vanity Fair that the social network is “just an ass-backward tech company.”
In the Vanity Fair article, which analyzes Twitter’s Head of Trust and Safety Del Harvey, several anonymous former Twitter employees discussed the social network’s problem with censorship and rule-enforcement.
On the topic of Twitter’s use of Ruby on Rails for its backend, which makes it more difficult for the social network to enforce rules and censorship, the executive claimed if Twitter ever knew it would become so big, they “never would have built it on a Fisher-Price infrastructure.”
“Because this is just an ass-backward tech company, let’s throw non-scalable, low-tech solutions on top of this low-tech, non-scalable problem,” the executive continued, criticizing the social network’s attempts to work awkwardly with the old technology.
The former executive also criticized Harvey’s tactics to censor “trolls” on the platform.
“There was no real sense of urgency,” they declared. “It’s a technology company with crappy technologists, a revolving door of product heads and C.E.O.s, and no real core of technological innovation. You had Del saying, ‘Trolls are going to be a problem. We will need a technological solution for this.'”
“You had this unsophisticated human army with no real scalable platform to plug into,” the former executive proclaimed. “You fast forward, and it was like, ‘Hey, shouldn’t we just have basic rules in place where if the suggestion is to suspend an account of a verified person, there should be a process in place to have a flag for additional review, or something?’ You’d think it would take, like, one line of code to fix that problem. And the classic response is, ‘That’s on our product roadmap two quarters from now.’”
Another former Twitter employee also placed the blame for Twitter’s problems on Harvey.
“[Harvey] is over-titled and overpaid… She joined this company early and got to ride the wave,” they claimed. “I know why she would never quit. It’s a little bit like asking Ringo Starr why he never left the Beatles: it was the best job he ever had.”
“I hate to say it, but she clearly was in so far over her head,” the former employee continued. “It was a disaster. I’m sure she’s a nice person personally, but in this job, she was utterly incompetent.”