Twitter claims to tackle online abuse with new technical measures to stop repeat offenders

Twitter has reacted to growing community and advertiser concerns about the use of the social media network as a platform for harassment and abuse, introducing a series of new safety measures which it claims will stop abusers who have been permanently suspended from creating new accounts.


Twitter says it is treating the issue of abuse as a matter of urgency.

In a series of changes to be introduced in coming weeks, Twitter has vowed to stop the creation of new abusive accounts, will introduce safer search that will hide tweets with “potentially sensitive content” from immediate view, and will collapse abusive and “low quality” replies to keep more relevant replies at the top of a conversation.

However, Twitter would not specify how it would block repeat offenders. Replying to a question from Mumbrella, a spokesperson said: “We’ll use a variety of signals from all of our accounts to identify repeat offenders. Once we have high confidence, we act.”

Announcing the update in a blog post, Twitter said it was continuing work started last year to give more control to people over the tweets they might exposed to.

“Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus,” Ed Ho, Twitter’s VP engineering said in the post.

“We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic. That’s put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won’t tolerate it and we’re launching new efforts to stop it.”

Last week the company introduced more ways for people suffering at the hands of abusive tweets to report them and said it would now focus on permanently stopping abusers from re-emerging on the platform.

The moves follows persistent criticism that platforms such as Twitter and Facebook do too little to prevent abuse.

“We’re taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts,” Ho said.

“This focuses more effectively on some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of behaviour, particularly accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others.”

Ho said the move to limit the use of Twitter as a platform for abuse and harassment would be ongoing.

“In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to roll out product changes – some changes will be visible and some less so – and will update you on progress every step of the way. With every change, we’ll learn, iterate, and continue to move at this speed until we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel.

“We’re also working on ‘safe search’ which removes Tweets that contain potentially sensitive content and Tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results.”


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella Asia newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing