Twitter Takes Another Crack At Preventing Harassment


Twitter has had a hard time recently keeping its platform clear of harassment. They’ve taken some steps to make their users feel more comfortable, but most all believed that there was more that could be done. To that end, Twitter has announced another set of tools aimed at preventing harassment. In a blog post yesterday, Twitter Director of Product Management, Shreyas Doshi laid out some of the forthcoming plans.

First and foremost, Twitter is expanding their violent threats policy. This update insures that:

…prohibition is not limited to “direct, specific threats of violence against others” but now extends to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.” Our previous policy was unduly narrow and limited our ability to act on certain kinds of threatening behavior.

If you’ve paid any attention to Twitter, you’ve probably seen examples of even “direct, specific threats” that Twitter Support claimed did not violate their policies. With any luck this new policy will truly make some headway in this regard. In addition to the expansion of this policy, Twitter also announced additional enforcement options. In addition to requiring an account verification via SMS, Twitter will now be able to lock accounts for periods of time, and even require that certain actions be taken before an account can be used again.


Twitter is also looking into ways to recognize and mute offensive content. This is not meant as a way to completely block that offensive content, but simply limit its reach.

This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a Tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive. It will not affect your ability to see content that you’ve explicitly sought out, such as Tweets from accounts you follow, but instead is designed to help us limit the potential harm of abusive content.

These precautions are a step in the right direction, as long as they are enforced. Twitter has hit some of these same notes before, but they’ve been lax on the enforcement, or turned a blind eye to tweets that seemed to match their very definitions of abuse and harassment. Twitter obviously wants their users to feel safe. They don’t want to lose any of their devoted users over issues of harassment that they could have prevented.

What do you think? Are these steps in the right direction, or are you leery after Twitter has made similar promises in the past? Let us know what you think in the comments below, or on Facebook, Google+, or Twitter.

  Source: Twitter
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