Twitter's CEO has said he is "ashamed" of the company's persistent failure to deal with harassment of users, admitting: "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform."

Dick Costolo vowed to take responsibility for improving Twitter's poor record of eliminating abusive posters, in a leaked internal memo.

In the memo, obtained by technology website The Verge, Costolo wrote: "I'm frankly ashamed of how poorly we've dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It's absurd. 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 responding to posts on an internal forum about Lindy West, a Twitter user who had been targeted for abuse by a troll who set up an account in the name of her dead father. Users report threats of physical violence, sexual abuse and stalking on a daily basis.

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Costolo wrote: "We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day."

He promised: "We're going to start kicking these people off right and left and making sure that when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them. Everybody on the leadership team knows this is vital."

Last year Twitter released new tools to streamline and speed up the process of reporting abuse. Users not directly involved in a case of abuse can flag incidences on behalf of others.

- UK Independent