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Ex-Twitter CEO apologizes (again) for site's online abuse

Dick Costolo says he's sorry for not doing enough to curb social network's bullying and trolling.

Ex-Twitter CEO Dick Costolo wishes he had done more to prevent abuse on the platform.
James Martin/CNET

Twitter's former CEO is still regretting not curbing online abuse sooner on the social network.

"I wish I could turn back the clock and go back to 2010 and stop abuse on the platform by creating a very specific bar for how to behave on the platform," Dick Costolo said Wednesday at the Upfront Summit conference in Los Angeles, according to Axios.

"I take responsibility for not taking the bull by the horns," said Costolo, who thought he couldn't make such a bold move because he wasn't a founder.

It's not the first time Costolo, Twitter's chief from 2010 until 2015, has made such comments about the abuse. In a series of internal memos in Feb. 2015, Costolo said he felt personally responsible for inadequately responding to the incessant harassment, strongly believing it drove users away.

"I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd," he said. "There's no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It's nobody else's fault but mine, and it's embarrassing."

Costolo was out of a job five months later. On Wednesday, he offered a slew of suggestions for Twitter, including how staffers could manually curate messages, promote tweets with quality content and purge abusive ones.

He also said similar strategies could be applied to dealing with "fake news."

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