Twitter announced Tuesday that it was rolling out an improved method of flagging abusive tweets. The news was announced on the company’s Support Twitter page and featured an unnarrated instructional video on the new method, which will allow users to report accounts for harassment and threats of violence or physical harm.
Under the new reporting system, users will be able to use the “Block or report” option in the dropdown menu under tweets to access the new “file a report” feature. From there, users will be able to specify the exact nature of the problem, with options including “this tweet is annoying” and “this user is abusive.” Upon choosing the latter option, users will be able to select from four issues, including “harassment,” “impersonation” and “self harm or suicide.” Harassment reports will also solicit additional information on whether the offending account has been disrespectful, offensive or threatening violence.
The move comes after several high-profile incidents of abuse on Twitter in recent weeks. A member of the British Parliament was the target of anti-Semitic abuse on Twitter in late October, according to the Jewish Chronicle. The incident resulted in strong condemnation of Twitter’s reporting system from members of parliament, including Labour Party leader Ed Miliband, who urged Twitter to “do more to proactively take down such vile abuse.”
There have also been calls from activists who have urged Twitter to reform its reporting policies to better address abusive comments on the platform, which they say are rampant. The petition “Add a report abuse button to tweets” on Change.org has over 140,000 signatures. Organizers had referred to Twitter’s reporting system as “below required standards” and criticized the social media platform for allowing abuse to go frequently ignored. Petitioners also called for a “zero tolerance policy on abuse.”