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Can Dick Costolo Stop Trolls On Twitter? Wedbush Analyst Weighs In

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In a leaked memo, Twitter Inc (NYSE: TWTR) CEO Dick Costolo took responsibility for abusive trolls and vowed to clean up the problem.

Costolo's remarks sound good on paper, but is it really possible to stop trolls from harassing other users on Twitter?

"It is a big problem for Twitter," Wedbush analyst Shyam Patil told Benzinga. "I'm not really sure what they can do to crack down on it in a significant way. They can probably [deal] with it here and there for major cases."

Nasty users may not be deterred, however.

"If, for example, they boot a user, the user can sign up with a different name a minute later and continue to do the same stuff as before," Patil warned. "It's a problem for them. I'm not sure it's a huge problem in that it's preventing user growth. They probably have other issues that are driving that. At the moment this is an issue that they're trying to deal with, but I'm not convinced that there's a whole lot they can do."

Are there any risks that nasty tweets will appear on Google Inc (NASDAQ: GOOG)? Patil wasn't sure.

"I would think that if it's relevant to what you're searching for, you're probably going to see it," he said. "If you're looking for something and there's a conversation, you're going to get those tweets if you search for them. It depends on what the intent of the search is."

Related Link: Google Search Is Twitter's Plan To Monetize 500 Million Logged Out Users

Not A Problem At All?

Sean Udall, CIO of Quantum Trading Strategies and author of The TechStrat Report, wonders if trolls are really keeping Twitter from gaining and retaining users.

"Is it really as damaging as people say it is? I'm not so sure it is," Udall told Benzinga. "I think it's good policy that Twitter addresses it and tries to reduce the amount of terrible users."

Udall said that there are certainly things Twitter can do to crack down on bad users, but there is a fine line that must be considered.

"We have free speech," he said. "Twitter, Facebook, all these social media platforms are supposed to be about free speech. At the same time, they are owned by a company. If you break the rules, they can kick you off."

Udall thinks that if users are repeatedly kicked off Twitter, they'll eventually give up and stop creating new accounts to harass others.

"People do run out of email addresses they can use," Udall added. "You can check IP addresses. I think there's several ways to identify [the user]. I actually don't think blocking really annoying, harassing users is tough to do."

Disclosure: At the time of this writing, Louis Bedigian had no position in the equities mentioned in this report.

Latest Ratings for TWTR

DateFirmActionFromTo
Nov 2016OTR GlobalDowngradesMixedNegative
Oct 2016OppenheimerUpgradesUnderperformPerform
Oct 2016Goldman SachsMaintainsBuy

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