Addressing issues such as harassment on Twitter has long been on management’s to-do list. Now it seems the company is getting a grip on the matter with the help of a string of updates in recent months.
Progress in checking harassment on Twitter
About six months ago, Twitter’s general manager of consumer product and engineering, Ed Ho, said they will put a check on the problem “in days and hours, not weeks and months.” Thereafter, a string of new updates was seen, and on Thursday, Ho announced that improvements have been seen in checking harassment on Twitter.
“While there is still much work to be done, people are experiencing significantly less abuse on Twitter today than they were six months ago,” Ed Ho said.
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Though he admitted that there is still a lot to be done to make the website safer and more welcoming, he also offered a few data points to mark the changes that have been made. According to Ho, the number of flagged accounts on which Twitter has been taking action on a daily basis has gone up ten-fold year over year.
“It’s critically important that people can come to Twitter and talk about what’s happening without worrying about feeling safe,” said Ed Ho.
Twitter is also identifying repeated offenders who are trying to dodge its efforts by opening new accounts after their old accounts have been blocked. Over the past four months, the micro-blogging firm has taken action against twice as many “backup” accounts as it did previously.
Are the Twitter updates really working?
Twitter has made several changes to its existing products to bring down the number of incidents of online abuse. From notification filters to blocking mentions, the company has done quite a commendable job to address the issue. The company also amended its reporting tools to make it easier for users.
One of the features, often referred to as a “shadow ban,” is quite a popular tool to limit abuse. The technology helps limit the audience of the user on a temporary basis. However, users are not aware of any such bans, so when posting, they are under the impression that their comment is on the public forum. However, the message is only visible to them.
Despite the claims made by Ho, the reach of these safety tools seems only limited. Recently, Rob Kardashian posted nude pictures of his ex-fiance Blac Chyna on Twitter, and it was only after half an hour that those pictures were removed from the platform. British singer Ed Sheeran also had to delete his Twitter account entirely after being trolled for his Games of Thrones appearance on July 16.
Since Twitter has shared no additional data on the progress being made, the current status of its efforts is unclear. According to a study from Pew Research Center released this month, the micro-blogging firm is not the only social networking website where harassment is rampant. The report claimed that four in ten adults in the United States say that they have been harassed online.
More information is expected on July 27 when Twitter reports its second-quarter earnings.