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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.
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