Twitter announces new measures to target abuse and harassment on the platform



SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM Twitter has announced a range of new updates that they're introducing to reduce the abusive content on the site. They will also be able to implement a time-limit on how long they would like the content to be muted for.

"We're continuing our work to make Twitter safer, moving faster than ever to do so", Ed Ho, Twitter's vice president of engineering, wrote in a blog post. Read Twitter's full statement on its new measures here. The company is also expanding a feature that allows users to mute out certain keywords, phrases, or entire conversations from their notifications. That won't stop every troll, considering Twitter is still doling out verified checkmarks to neo-Nazis.

Twitter has gradually improved how it handles abuse and harassment, by removing hurdles to reporting it and speeding up its response time (although some users argue the process is still too difficult).

On Wednesday, Twitter said it is now identifying accounts it suspects of engaging in abusive behavior, based on based on algorithms and engineers watching - even if the account hasn't been reported by a user.

It's a major shift for Twitter to take on some of the responsibility for policing abuse, rather than relying on victims to report it, as it has in the past.

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Vernon added that while the algorithm detecting nefarious content is a powerful tool toward protecting users from abuse, she believes a "human element" is needed to make a final determination as to whether or not tweets are harassing users or simply a glitch catching a false-positive.

Earlier this month, Twitter rolled out a brand new update wherein it committed itself to preventing bullies on its platform by stopping the creation of new, abusive accounts.

"This is what we've been asking for, people having the capabilities to block or mute accounts they don't want to see", said Jamia Wilson, executive director of Women, Action & the Media (WAM), another member of Twitter's safety council. That action would allow users to avoid dealing with "eggs" or users who create accounts without uploading their own photo - often to harass others.

The site had removed notifications for the occasions users were added to a list by someone else, a feature some used to bully others by adding them to lists with offensive names. "For example, this change could come into effect if an account is repeatedly Tweeting without solicitation at non-followers or engaging in patterns of abusive behavior that is in violation of the Twitter Rules", the company explained Thursday. You can also choose to only mute those tweets from people you don't follow.

The Twitter app added muting features for notifications at the end of past year.

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