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Twitter Is Finally Making It Easier to Deal With Harrassment

Illustration for article titled Twitter Is Finally Making It Easier to Deal With Harrassment

Being the primary stream of consciousness for the internet, Twitter faces the herculean task of trying to remain open but also protect people from vicious trolls and online abusers. In the wake of Gamergate and other random instances of violent verbal abuse and sexism, Twitter has often been criticized for how they handle online safety. But starting today, the company is implementing an improved safety strategy.

The bulk of the safety update includes streamlining the process required to flag offending content and requiring less information to submit complaints, as Twitter's Shreyas Doshi describes in a blog post:

We're improving the reporting process to make it much more mobile-friendly, require less initial information, and, overall, make it simpler to flag Tweets and accounts for review. These enhancements similarly improve the reporting process for those who observe abuse but aren't receiving it directly. And to enable faster response times, we've made the first of several behind-the-scenes improvements to the tools and processes that help us review reported Tweets and accounts.

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Illustration for article titled Twitter Is Finally Making It Easier to Deal With Harrassment

This also includes a new blocked accounts page, which you can access from Twitter's settings menu and gives you a dashboard view of all the assholes and exes you've had to block over the years. Now, anybody who finds themselves on your Twitter shit list won't be able to look at your profile.

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Twitter has worked with groups in the past on developing new tools for reporting instances of abuse on the massive social media platform. Twitter also promises that this isn't the end of implementing safety features, and that even more improvements can be expected including "new enforcement procedures."

As is true with most rollouts, only a small group of people will see any changes today or in the coming days, but Twitter promises these new features will be available for everyone in the coming weeks. [Twitter Blog]

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DISCUSSION

2noob2banoob
Zeust the Mepsuan

Hmm, I can see this having some drawbacks. First, flagging itself could be used as a harassment tool. Though admittedly not an effective one, assuming the flag only has consequences after some review process has finished.

Secondly, people may end up believing that "anybody who finds themselves on your Twitter shit list won't be able to look at your profile", which is simply not true if your profile is public. Blocked people can log out and then view your profile while not logged in, or perhaps they'll log in with a burner that you haven't blocked yet.

That said, I definitely applaud the idea behind this. And let's face it, the inability to stop harassment is an unfortunate and inherent side effect to the openness and publicness of Twitter's network. No technical measure is ever gonna change that, we'll just have to accept that a perfect service is impossible. In the meantime we should be glad that people are putting effort in approximating it.