Ex-MSNBC Contributor Kurt Eichenwald Calls for Twitter Boycott Over Troll Problem

Journalist who was sent into epileptic seizure by a troll’s tweet warns that platform could go the way of MySpace if it isn’t reined in

Last Updated: August 27, 2018 @ 6:16 AM

Former MSNBC contributor and Newsweek reporter Kurt Eichenwald is calling for a boycott against Twitter on Sept. 7 as a response to what he says is the platform’s lack of diligence in combating trolls and bots.

“On September 7, tweet nothing but #BoycottTwitter. Force @jack to understand, if users flee this cesspool, he goes broke. Make @twitter do something to attack the trolls, sock puppets and bots that are making the platform toxic,” said Eichenwald.

“The reason why @jack won’t address the sockpuppet, troll and bot problem on @twitter, ignoring users demands? Perhaps he wants @twitter to be the next MySpace,” he added. “Show him we can help him become MySpace. Tweet only #BoycottTwitter on 9/7/2018. Demand they clean the cesspool.”

Neither Eichenwald or reps for Twitter immediately responded to request for comment from TheWrap.

Eichenwald’s specific point was a technical decision by the platform to discontinue free software that allowed users to automate the blocking of suspicious accounts. The platform’s decision means that Eichenwald and others will have to manage their own blocking preferences.

The longtime journalist and New York Times bestselling author has been a frequent target for trolls on both the left and the right. In December 2016, Eichenwald was sent a strobe light GIF that a user said he hoped would cause Eichenwald to have an epileptic seizure.

Several months later, the FBI arrested 29-year-old Rayne Rivello for sending the GIF, charging him with criminal cyberstalking “with the intent to kill,” according to the New York Times. The charge was eventually dropped, but Rivello may still face an additional battery charge, plus a civil suit from Eichenwald.

Eichenwald has been trolled for his own missteps on the platform, most famously his decision to tweet out a screenshot of his computer monitor last year which included an open tab for “hentai” — a genre dedicated to anime fetish ‘tentacle’ pornography. He made matters worse by subsequently explaining to the masses that he was only there to prove to his wife and children that such content existed.

Eichenwald’s last professional outlet, Vanity Fair, also moved to distance itself from him in April after he publicly sparred with Parkland, Florida shooting survivor Kyle Kashuv. In a statement, the magazine said Eichenwald was no longer a contributing editor — despite his bio claiming that he was.