Twitter Safety: Here's how you stay safe and report abusive tweets

A lot’s been said about Twitter safety. The discussion eventually boils down to a unique breed of people – trolls. Twitter popularity has a great deal to do with the strong opinions and sometimes opinionated camps that indulge in heavy mudslinging, which sometimes can also get abusive.


A lot’s been said about Twitter safety. The discussion eventually boils down to a unique breed of people – trolls. Twitter popularity has a great deal to do with the strong opinions and sometimes opinionated camps that indulge in heavy mudslinging, which sometimes can also get abusive. Although that’s quite regular in the political context in India, instances such as stalking, hurting religious sentiment, commenting on gender or even abuse could affect just about any unsuspecting user.

The microblogging site has announced the Twitter Safety Centre. There has been a long standing call to rework the way Twitter deals with trolls. Earlier this year, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said, “We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years. It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day. I’m frankly ashamed of how poorly we’ve dealt with this issue during my tenure as CEO. It’s absurd. There’s no excuse for it. I take full responsibility for not being more aggressive on this front. It’s nobody else’s fault but mine, and it’s embarrassing.”

Twitter has finally come up with a revamped mechanism to deal with the menace of abuse by trolls and unpleasant users.

Be good

It’s rather quite simple. Be good and you’ll be fine. According to an update on the Twitter blog, Shreyas Doshi, Director of Product Management said that Twitter is making two policy changes related to prohibited content and enforcement of policy violations. He said, “We are updating our violent threats policy so that prohibition is not limited to ‘direct, specific threats of violence against others’ but now extends to ‘threats of violence against others or promoting violence against others."

Acknowledging that the Twitter policy on abuse was ineffective, he said, “Our previous policy was unduly narrow and limited our ability to act on certain kinds of threatening behaviour. The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse.”

Blocking abuse is now automated

Doshi added that they have begun to test a product feature that automatically identifies abusive Tweets and helps limit their reach. This product feature considers signals and context from the conversations around an abusive tweet. Depending on the data with Twitter’s safety team, the user is independently determined to be abusive.

Depending on the kind of tweet, certain actions such as blocking a user for specific time to a request for deleting the tweet may be taken.

 Twitter Safety: Heres how you stay safe and report abusive tweets

How to report violations

While the steps above to deal with potential trolls ensure you're not a victim of abuse as a user, there are always those occasional tweets that manage to circumvent systems. If you are a victim of abuse, you can head over to the Twitter Safety Centre, or click here. Twitter recommends the following steps to report a profile that violates the Twitter Safety guidelines:

  1. Open the profile you’d like to report.
  2. Select the gear icon  (on web or Twitter for iOS) or tap the overflow icon  (on Twitter for Android).
  3. Select Report and then select the type of issue you’d like to report.
  4. If you select They’re being abusive or harmful, we’ll ask you to provide additional information about the issue you’re reporting.
  5. Once you’ve submitted your report, we’ll provide recommendations for additional actions you can take to improve your Twitter experience.

It is still quite a daunting task to find the relevant mechanism to report a specific instance of offence. However, over a period of time, Twitter will hopefully iron out these creases.


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