Twitter Finally Cracks Down on Abusive Conduct

Posted on November 15, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Social with 8 Comments

Twitter Finally Cracks Down on Abusive Conduct

Today, Twitter announced that it is finally cracking down on the abuse, bullying, and harassment that routinely ruins the experience of using its service.

“Abusive conduct removes the chance to see and share all perspectives around an issue, which we believe is critical to moving us all forward,” a Twitter announcement explains. “In the worst cases, this type of conduct threatens human dignity, which we should all stand together to protect.”

Because Twitter unfolds in real-time and in public, monitoring and responding to abuse can be difficult. But the service says it has made important progress in three key areas. These are:

Improvements to “mute.” Twitter long ago added “mute” feature that helps you cull the noise from your feed. Now, mute is being expanded to notifications: You can mute keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations you don’t want to see notifications about.

Improvements to reporting. You can now directly report conduct that violates Twitter’s hateful conduct policy by targeting people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease, and you can do so for yourself, or for others.

Improvements to enforcement. Twitter says it has retrained its support teams and improved its internal tools and systems so that it can deal more effectively with abusive conduct reports. “Our goal is a faster and more transparent process,” the firm claims.

I’ve been meaning to explain how I use the social networks I do use, and why I don’t use the ones I ignore. But when it comes to Twitter specifically, it’s hard to separate the useful commentary from the noise, and I’m curious to see if these changes will improve matters. Today, I routinely mute or block people who waste my time, as I see Twitter as a place to interact with other people, and not a place to go for personal abuse. But I’ve found Twitter’s response time—and responses—to abusive conduct to be entirely worthless. And with all the jerks out there, it can make using the service difficult.

So we’ll see. Certainly, it can only get better.


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