Twitter is cracking down on online abuse with updates to its platform. Last week, it launched the ability to report Tweets that mention users, even if the author has blocked them. Now, it has rolled out a couple of changes including stopping creation of new abusive accounts, introducing safer search results, and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets. “Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus,” said Ed Ho, Twitter’s VP of Engineering, in a blogpost.
Twitter will identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts. The move particularly focuses on accounts that are created only to abuse and harass other users. Twitter’s new safe search’ feature removes Tweets that contain potentially sensitive content.
It will also remove Tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. The Tweets will still be available on the social networking site, but they’ll not show up in search results. Twitter says it is working to identify and collapse potentially abusive and low-quality replies. Once again, the Tweet replies will be accessible to those who seek them out.
The changes are expected to roll out in a couple of weeks. “In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to roll out product changes – some changes will be visible and some less so – and will update you on progress every step of the way,” said Ho.
Twitter has long been criticised as a hotbed for online harassment. It started to address online abuse in November last year by expanding its mute feature for notifications. Twitter allows users to mute keywords, phrases, and conversations users don’t want to be notified about. It gave users a more direct way to report hateful conduct on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease.
Twitter admits the product changes won’t remove online abuse from its platform overnight. Rather, it will keep rolling out updates in phases to make ‘meaningful progress’. Twitter is planning to announce a couple of more changes in the coming weeks and says it will move at this speed until ‘we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel’.