Twitter gets more proactive, steps up efforts to curb online abuse

Twitter said Wednesday that it’s taking more steps to combat online harassment by not only making it easier for the users to filter out what they don’t want to see but by identifying accounts engaged in abusive behavior even if someone hasn’t flagged those tweets.

The company would temporarily limit the reach of those accounts for a certain amount of time, allowing only their followers to see their tweets.

“We aim to only act on accounts when we’re confident, based on our algorithms, that their behavior is abusive,” said Twitter VP of Engineering Ed Ho in a blog post. “Since these tools are new we will sometimes make mistakes, but know that we are actively working to improve and iterate on them everyday.”

Twitter is also letting users filter out notifications from certain accounts like those without a profile photo, unverified email addresses or phone numbers. The company is also expanding a feature that allows users to mute out certain keywords, phrases, or entire conversations from their notifications.

“Now, you’ll be able to mute from your home timeline and you can decide how long this content is muted – one day, one week, one month, or indefinitely,” the company said.

Twitter users who report abuse will also be notified that the company has received the complaint and what action the tech firm is taking.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has said that the company is trying to improve safety on the social media site.

Last year, actress Leslie Jones spoke out about the racist and hurtful comments she received on Twitter and signed off the site. The company responded by banning conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos from its site after he was accused of leading the online hate campaign against Jones.

Harassment and abuse on the platform also reportedly played a role in why Disney and Salesforce did not pursue a bid to acquire the tech firm, which has struggled to hit Wall Street’s expectations.

Twitter has about 319 million monthly active users.

Photo: The Twitter building in San Francisco in 2015. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)


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