There is absolutely no doubt about the fact that social networks find it tough to contain online abuse. Whatever the case may be, it’s important to identify violaters and curb such illicit activities as far as practicable. Twitter seems to have realized that merely offering the option to report a person is not enough; it has recently announced new policy and product changes that attempt to curb abuse.
Unlike the old ‘unduly narrow and limited’ policy, the new provisions under the latest version of violent threats policy cover aspects beyond ‘direct specific threats of violence against others’. This is now more far reaching with ‘threats of violence against others or promoting violence against others’. Twitter believes that the latest version is a true indication of the extent of prohibited content its policies cover.
Twitter’s new policies are now more far reaching and hope to do away with ‘threats of violence against others or promoting violence against others’
In regards to enforcement, Twitter already encourages such things as prompting users to verify phone numbers and asking them to delete certain tweets at times. Now it has further strengthened its enforcement by giving its support team the authority to lock the accounts of violaters for a set time period. This is perceived to be useful in case multiple users attempt to harrass other users.
This isn’t all. Twitter has also commenced testing a product feature which is expected to spot tweets that pertain to violence and restrict their reach as a result. A number of factors are considered to acknowledge the context of such a tweet, for example the age of the account along with its similarity to any other content that was previously found to be abusive. Though, the feature does not account for tweets on the basis of them being unpopular or scandalous; it’s merely an attempt to restrict abuse.
Twitter is also testing a product feature which is expected to spot tweets that pertain to violence and restrict their reach as a result
Abusers have taken to Twitter on multiple occasions to spread violent sentiments and harass others. The GamerGate saga caused a storm in a teacup as women associated with the gaming industry were actively targeted with death and rape threats. Following in the footsteps of ISIS, plenty of minority hate groups have used Twitter to campaign against political agendas. Moreover, public figures like Robin Williams’s daughter and comedian Sue Perkins have also received death threats several times.
It’s clear as day that the proposed changes to policy are not immaculate per se. In fact, filtration of tweets in this fashion might actually drive the more persistent abusers. However, it’s fair to consider it another small step in the right direction for making Twitter a safe place to be. Now it’s imperative that the results are closely monitored and their implications assessed by Twitter for this to work to its full potential.