Earlier this week, vile, disgusting, pitiful excuses for human beings harassed Robin Williams' daughter, Zelda Williams, on Twitter just days after his tragic death, tweeting her horrible photos and comments that made her so upset she decided to quit both Twitter and Instagram.
She begged her followers to report two Twitter users who were bullying her because she couldn't bear to look at the links that Twitter required in order to document the abuse. She then deleted that tweet and apologized, claiming she should have "risen above."
Sadly, this isn't the first time anyone on social media had to deal with torturing trolls; it happens every day to varying degrees. But this is the first time Twitter is finally speaking out and putting their metaphorical foot down regarding online harassment through their site.
"We will not tolerate abuse of this nature on Twitter," Twitter's vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey 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."
It's unfortunate that it took something like this for Twitter to start "evaluating" their policies, and we may never know if this horrible situation could have been avoided altogether. All we do know is that the idea that a grieving daughter couldn't even use the Internet without despicable a--holes torturing her makes us sick to our stomach.
"I will be leaving this account for awhile I heal and decide if I'll be deleting it or not," Zelda announced via Instagram. "In this difficult time, please try to be respectful of the accounts of myself, my family and my friends. Mining our accounts for photos of dad, or judging me on the number of them is cruel and unnecessary…That's not what I want for our memories together. Thank you for your respect and understanding in this difficult time. Goodbye. Xo."
In a Tumblr post published on Tuesday, Zelda had this to add those bullies: "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."
No, it's not just the fault of the people who run Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. But at the very least, Twitter has gotten a wakeup call of the most horrendous kind.
If you or someone you know needs help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).