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Twitter expands 'mute' functionality, retrains support staff, makes it easier to report harassment

By Shawn Knight
Nov 15, 2016
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  1. Twitter on Tuesday announced a handful of additional measures it is taking in an effort to try and curb the amount of abuse, bullying and harassment that has plagued the microblogging platform for years.

    As you may know, Twitter rolled out a mute feature back in 2014 that allows users to silence tweets from people they don’t care to hear from. Now, Twitter is taking that feature a step further by letting people create blacklists of keywords, phrases and even emojis to be muted in notifications.

    Twitter is also providing a more direct way to report abuse, regardless of whether it’s directed at you or others. The company says this will improve its ability to process reports of abuse which helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse and ultimately, helps to strengthen “a culture of collective support” on Twitter.

    With relation to enforcement, Twitter said they’ve retrained all of their support teams on their hateful conduct policy including special sessions that focus on cultural and historical contextualization of hateful conduct. Twitter has also implemented an ongoing refresher program to keep staff sharp on the subject.

    Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety, admitted to The Washington Post in an interview that Twitter hasn’t always moved as quickly as they would like or done as much as they would like with regard to addressing harassment issues.

    Harvey added that they have tried to be thoughtful and make sure the changes they make don’t have unintended and negative consequences. In other words, their goal is to develop tools to shut down harassment without crossing the line into limiting free speech.

    Many of the company’s shortcomings on the matter surfaced during this election year. Harvey told the publication that although the new mute feature wasn’t driven by the election dialogue itself, it did emphasize how much work still remains on the topic.

    Lead image courtesy Getty Images

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  2. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,541   +2,337

    Here's the short version.

    After shooting itself in the face, the back, and both feet, Twitter is now taking aim at its hands.

    People who advocated for this change are going to applaud it. But, remember, their definition of harassment and hate is "anything I disagree with." Twitter has already been partitioned by its "quality" algorithm and their hashtag manipulation. This next phase will cull the deplorable segments.

    In entirely related news, Gab has begun its public roll out.
     
    Nobina and Das Pooch like this.
  3. Kotters

    Kotters TS Member Posts: 44   +17

    Good. Can't wait to see all the pro identity politics tweets reported and removed.
     
  4. Das Pooch

    Das Pooch TS Rookie

    "...including special sessions that focus on cultural and historical contextualization of hateful conduct."

    In other words, the Progressive Stack has been drilled into all support staff. In another year or two, Twitter will be a boring, sterile ad platform and nothing else.
     
  5. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,541   +2,337

    It'll be Tumblr without the images.
     
  6. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Maniac Posts: 402   +211

    You can't control free speech.

    You can make the argument that it's your web service and that people must abide by your rules - but then all you'll do is alienate users and make them leave.

    I love the way Youtube does it. If people don't like what someone's saying: you just Block them.

    The problem is, people want to silence you. They not only want to block you, but they want to keep you from being able to speak.
     
  7. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 332   +131

    So all they've done is strengthen the walls between the various echochambers on Twitter.
     
    davislane1 likes this.

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