Twitter has always had a problem with trolls. This is partly because it is difficult sometimes to know exactly where to draw the line between free speech and abuse. It is also partly because of the sheer number of users and the lack of a sufficient monitoring system.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo stated in a leaked internal memo that he takes full responsibility for not being aggressive enough in dealing with trolling, and that it is something that he aims to work on. He added, “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.” It has broadened its definition of threats to include not only direct, specific threats, but also to posts that engage in “promot[ing] violence against others.”
On the enforcement front, the company is also boosting efforts. Once abuse against others has been determined, the enforcement team can now reserve the right to lock the abuser’s account for a specified period of time, or ask users to delete abusive tweets before allowing them to get back on the service.
Furthermore, Twitter is attempting to update its tools to make it faster and more efficient. Last year’s reporting update promised faster responses, and last month the platform unveiled a new feature that allows victims of abuse to create a full report that can be given to law enforcement for harassment charges. There is also a new “quality filtering” feature being tested by the company that aims to remove tweets deemed abusive, threatening, or offensive in order to limit the reach of abusive tweets.
Whether or not these updates will actually make much difference remains to be seen, but Twitter at least appears to be making an effort to make its community a friendlier and less threatening place to interact.
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