Twitter has announced two policy changes that will help to “develop a platform on which users can safely engage with the world at large.”
Shreyas Doshi, director of product management at Twitter, explained in a blog post that the company’s violent threats policy was previously “unduly narrow”. Whilst the previous policy was limited to “direct, specific threats of violence against others” it now extends to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.” This means that the scope of what is classed as a threat has widened and more offensive content will be easier to identify and remove.
An additional enforcement option has given the Twitter support team the ability to lock abusive accounts for certain periods of time.
Secondly, Doshi said that Twitter have begun to test a product feature to help identify suspected abusive Tweets and limit their reach. The technology is designed to spot abusive messages being sent to their intended recipient.
“This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse, including the age of the account itself and the similarity of a tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive.”
The feature will stop the tweet being shown to the recipient but it will still be posted on the site. Users will also still be able to see abusive tweets written by those they follow, but Twitter said it should reduce the overall amount of abusive tweets that users can see.
Doshi said that pre-empting, identifying and stopping abuse on the platform is a priority for the company, “While dedicating more resources toward better responding to abuse reports is necessary and even critical, an equally important priority for us is identifying and limiting the incentives that enable and even encourage some users to engage in abuse.”