Twitter is taking new steps towards curbing online bullying after it saw an increase in people being abusive towards others on the platform, the company said on Tuesday.
“The amount of abuse, bullying, and harassment we've seen across the Internet has risen sharply over the past few years. These behaviors inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere,” said Twitter in a statement. “Abusive conduct removes the chance to see and share all perspectives around an issue, which we believe is critical to moving us all forward.”
The divisive election between Hillary Clinton and President-elect Donald Trump appears to have only escalated the tension and abuse online. Many journalists, public figures and random users have been subjected to abuse as a result of tweets about the election.
Abuse on Twitter was also highlighted this year when Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones was viciously attacked with racist and sexist remarks by Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor at the conservative news website Breitbart. Yiannopoulos called Jones “barely literate” and said her work was “terrible.” Jones reported Yiannopoulos for the abuse and Twitter banned him from using the site in July.
To curb the abuse for all Twitter users, the company is now taking action.
How To Mute People On Twitter and Report Abuse
Twitter’s new steps will include expanding its “mute” function. Twitter has had a mute feature which lets users silence accounts they don’t want to see Tweets from, but it is now broadening that function in notifications. In the next few days, users will be able to mute keywords, phrases and complete conversations they don’t want to get notifications on.
The company will also have a more “direct way” of reporting online abuse. Users can report the abusive conduct for themselves, or for others when they see it happening. Twitter says the new step will improve its ability to process the reports and will “strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter.”
The company says it has retrained all of its support teams on the company’s policies. Twitter says it has also improved its internal tools and systems in an effort to “deal more effectively” with abuse. “Our goal is a faster and more transparent process,” said the company.
Although these new steps are aimed to stop abuse, Twitter says it’s aware it won’t completely solve the problem.
“We don't expect these announcements to suddenly remove abusive conduct from Twitter. No single action by us would do that,” Twitter said.
“Instead we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.”