Twitter’s New Anti-Harassment Tools

by Brittani Rast

Harassment and abuse on Twitter is a serious issue that needed to be addressed. The website has been under close watch in relation to the volume of harassment and hate speech on the website for the past few months. Twitter has seen a growing trend of people abusing the website to harass and bully other users. Trolls and hate groups have been a part of Twitter for years. Thankfully, Twitter released a few tools on Tuesday for users and new internet protocol to help with the problems.

Twitter announced on their blog that they were updating the service’s mute function. Users can now mute entire threads and filter their individual notifications. Twitter users can mute notifications that contain certain “words, phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags.” Muted notifications will be removed and not pushed. People can also mute entire conversations and threads that they are active in. Notifications will disappear, but will still appear on the user’s timeline if they follow those in the conversation.

Next, Twitter made it easier to report abusive and hateful activity that targets people “on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease.” Users can now use the “Hateful Conduct” reporting tool to flag a tweet. Even more, Twitter claims their ability to respond more quickly and reliably has increased.  Trolls and abusers on Twitter have previously been able to get around the filters before and will likely be able to do it again. Still, Twitter has made progress and taken a step in the right direction.

Finally, Twitter announced the re-training of their whole support team on the company’s policies. A “refresher program” has been implemented to keep the team updated on abuse.


Published by

UNT Eagle Strategies

Class members of the social media class in the Mayborn School of Journalism