"...if Twitter forces me to see those things, then they’ll have to see them..."
The sidewalk in front of the Twitter headquarters in Hamburg Germany was filled with hate speech, the same hate speech that they refused to delete from their very application.
Shahak Shapira wanted to make a statement about how the company refused to delete incendiary comments he reported to the company which involved anti-Semitism, homophobia, and sexism.
He says he reported about 450 offensive remarks in all to both Facebook and Twitter. Facebook was quick to respond deleting about 150 of them, but Twitter, on the other hand, stood fast and responded to only nine of his complaints. And then said they weren’t in violation of their terms and conditions, allowing them to remain.
Some tweets posted included “Lets gas some Jews together” and “hang these lowlifes from the nearest street post,” and calls for violence against Muslims, gays, women and people of color.
“[They] weren’t just plain insults or jokes,” Shapira explains, “but absolutely serious threats of violence. Homophobia, xenophobia, Holocaust denial. Things no one should say and no one should read.”
Instead of ignoring the issue, Shapira decided he would show the company what it felt like to have to read the hateful remarks by painting them near the entrance of the company’s entryway. “I thought, okay, if Twitter forces me to see those things, then they’ll have to see them, too.”
He carefully cut out 30 stencils, each representing a tweet that he reported and using washable chalk painted them in front of Twitter’s office building in Hamburg.
According to New Now Next, people who saw the installation applauded Shapira for his work.
“It angers me that most people don’t revolt against this,” one man said. “They just accept it. I think that’s fucked up.”
Another said, “It’s careless to let this happen to your own product. It shouldn’t happen.”
He created the hashtag #HeyTwitter to spread his message. “This will never be big enough to visualize the amount of hate tweets on Twitter,” he says, “but maybe we can at least give them some food for though.”