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Twitter has been a haven for hateful and abusive behavior for years (the company's former CEO admitted as much a year ago). Despite efforts to the contrary, Twitter hasn't been very successful in quelling the abuse but that doesn't mean it should stop trying.
On Tuesday, Twitter's head of global policy outreach, Patricia Cartes, announced the formation of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council. Described as a part of its foundational strategy to ensure people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter, the council consists of more than 40 organizations and experts from 13 regions tasked with reviewing the products, policies and programs that Twitter rolls out.
Twitter stands for freedom of expression, speaking truth to power, and empowering dialogue. That starts with safety. https://t.co/PbEoM1lCyb--- Jack (@jack) February 9, 2016
Inaugural members include safety advocates, academics and researchers that specialize in the fields of minors, media literacy and digital citizenship, grassroots advocacy organizations that use Twitter to build movements and momentum and community groups designed to prevent abuse, harassment and bullying.
Other organizations, Cartes added, focus on mental health and suicide prevention.
The new council is the latest step by Twitter to combat a serious problem. Last year, then-CEO Dick Costolo told employees in an internal memo that Twitter flat out sucked at dealing with abuse and trolls and they've sucked at it for years.
Later that year, Twitter required Tor users to provide a phone number when opening an account and rolled out a "quality filter" to help remove tweets thought to contain threats, offensive or abusive language or those coming from suspicious accounts. In December, the microblogging platform updated its terms of service to further combat abusive and hateful conduct.
Only time will tell how effective the Trust & Safety Council is at further curbing such behavior.