Twitter, which has had its critics over its inability to police online harassment, is trying to step up its game in protecting its users from abuse — while still promoting free speech. In a company blog post this week, the bird-themed microblogging service announced new weapons in the defensive arsenal. The post reads, in part:
“Because Twitter happens in public and in real-time, we’ve had some challenges keeping up with and curbing abusive conduct. We took a step back to reset and take a new approach, find and focus on the most critical needs, and rapidly improve. There are three areas we’re focused on, and happy to announce progress around today: controls, reporting, and enforcement.”
Twitter’s post goes on to explain the upgraded toolkit, which includes:
- An expansion of the Mute feature to Notifications. As Twitter says, “We’re enabling you to mute keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations you don’t want to see notifications about, rolling out to everyone in the coming days.”
- A beefed-up Hateful Conduct policy that clearly explains what is acceptable and makes it easier to report bad behavior.
- Retrained support teams who should be better equipped to shut down abusive users.
The company says it doesn’t “expect these announcements to suddenly remove abusive conduct from Twitter.” The post went on to say, “No single action by us would do that. Instead, we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.”
Whether the civility upgrade here goes far enough remains to be seen, but try it out if you need to. And let Twitter know how it goes so they can “observe and learn” even more about how the service is used.