Twitter has been criticized for not doing enough to combat harassment and abuse on its platform. Today, the company has pledged to take a new approach on the issue, starting with three changes that will give users more control over what they see on the social network: stopping the creation of new abusive accounts, bringing forward safer search results, and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets.
Twitter says it’s taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts, focusing in particular on accounts that are created "only to abuse and harass others,” as explained by the company’s VP of Engineering, Ed Ho, in a blog post.
Moreover the introduction of a "safe search" feature will remove tweets with potentially sensitive content and tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. The tweets will still exist on the user’s timeline or are linked to but they won't appear in general search results.
Lastly, Twitter says it’s working on identifying low-quality and abusive replies, grouping them together and displaying them beneath a batch of the most relevant responses. Users will need to actually click through a link to “Show less relevant replies” in order for them to become visible.
The changes come as the company tries to find a balance between promoting free speech while curbing bullying. Twitter says users should see the new features over the course of the next few days – some changes will be visible and some less so, according to the announcement. It’s also unclear if third party Twitter clients will be able to tap into these controls to offer a cleaner experience themselves.
Lead image credit: Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty Images