Twitter Is Fighting Harassment and Bullying: Tools and Options

Let’s be fair, Twitter is amazing. It is a cool place to consume jokes and have a good laugh. Here you can stay informed, entertained, and connect with new people. But it could be a less welcoming place in case someone is being bullied.

For the last couple of years, harassment and bullying were the dark sides of Twitter. Incidents with Gamergate and all-female Ghostbusters remake and its cast, as well as Robin William’s death provoked so many fake profiles created only to spit out hate using the discriminatory language. So, Twitter finally made bigger steps towards fighting haters and bullies.

Long-Awaited Changes to Come

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter had little means for fighting bullying and online harassment. Incidents with posting personal information, threats and stalking have finally lead to signficnt changes in Twitter policy. They gave celebrities and public figures a chance to suspend bullies’ accounts. Yet it was only the first step because users still craved for a fair and convenient means for silencing abusive language and reporting bullies.

As a result Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey asked users about the improvements they want to see on Twitter in 2017. Since January they started adding the following features. Some of them are already available while others would appear soon enough.

New Features to Fight Harassment and Bullying

1) Broader notification filtering

All Twitter users can decide and define the types of accounts they want to get notifications from and ban the unwanted ones. For example, you can exclude unverified accounts from appearing on your notifications list. This can be also applied to specific people or a group of profiles sharing the same features.

2) Other filtering features

Muting unwanted content is another convenient feature that makes Twitter more pleasant. Now you can mute certain keywords and even phrases and decide on how long they are muted.

3) Time-out

In case the user’s Tweets are being regarded as abusive or those breaking the Twitter Rules, he would now be punished by the decreased reach. It means that the user’s tweets would only be seen by his followers, even if some of the non-followers are tagged in a tweet. Recently there have been a lot of criticism about this feature. But Twitter still hopes it will help send a strong message to abusers.

4) Clear reporting feedback

Time ago reporting an account or marking it as abusive left concerned users in the dark concerning the report processing. Today Twitter makes everything more obvious. It provides users with notifications once they’ve taken action on reported about such an account.

5) Collapsed abusive tweets

Facebook is now able to define fake news. Following it, Twitter is now identifying and hiding low-quality tweets or those posted by potentially abusive accounts. This way other users will only see the most reliable and relevant conversations on the topic. Those low-quality tweets are not banned for good. You can still look up for them if you are interested.

6) Safer search results

Machine learning is amazing. Thanks to it, results coming from blocked or muted accounts do not get to search output. The content posted by the abusive accounts would still be available on the website. But as long as it is considered potentially abusive, it won’t be a search result.

7) Preventing multiple harassing accounts from appearing

One of the worst things about bullies on Twitter is the opportunity to create multiple accounts that could all be used to harass or spam other users. Using their algorithms, Twitter is now able to detect multiple accounts created from the same phone number or email. This is another means to spot potential bullies.

Machine Learning for Better Cyberbullying Prevention

So, in case your personal or company’s Twitter account is attacked by abusers, you know what tools to use to solve the problem. And with incredible features of neural networks and machine learning, online communication via Twitter would become better with time.