Reports of online harassment and abuses that happen across social platforms have been on the rise lately. Fear no more, as from now on Twitter bans abusive accounts, introducing some changes to the company`s policy.
How the status quo looks like
The American social platform Twitter has a bad reputation among the world wide web for the way the company deals with abuse, especially with the forms of online harassment and offensives at someone`s privacy. Since February this year, officials talking on behalf of Twitter have started to announce changes in the social platform`s policy, in order to decrease the number of abuses which are reported by various users. From any casual account to big celebrities, Twitter users have all confronted with the problem of online harassment. That is why when recently Twitter has made public the introduction of a new capability of the platform, most of the voices on the matter have shown themselves disappointed.
Basically, Twitter will start to allow anyone to direct message any random other account, without being limited by a following correspondence. The company has stated that this measure would lead to a better communication and an easier means of getting in touch with someone, especially if you take into account that a user has the option of turning on or off the receiving of direct messages from persons with whom they have no following correspondence. While that seems logical and looks like there is no need to get crazy about it, most of the twitter users and people in connection to the social media have not received the news too cheerfully.
So how is the social platform going to act in order to solve the problems regarding abuses over Twitter?
Changes in the policy
Twitter bans abusive accounts with the introduction of some changes in the company`s policy, but how are they really going to function?
After Vijaya Gadde, the company`s General Counsel, has publicly apologized for Twitter`s incapacity of dealing with this issue in an effective way, the company has released a paper on Tuesday, in order to announce two major modifications of Twitter`s policy that were to affect all the users of the globally relevant social platform. The statement has been released by Shreyas Doshi, who is in the position of director of product management at the American company.
One of the controversial point in the policy of Twitter is represented by the way the social platform deals with threats of violence. Users have claimed that ‘direct, specific threats of violence against others’, as it was specified in the Twitter policy until now, is not enough, leaving unharmed accounts who still had the capacity to harass or abuse over the social platform, if they just did not express direct, specific threats of violence against others.
It seems like Twitter has learned the most valuable lesson from these cases of abuse, and has operated where it was needed most, in order to not lose important proportions of users, that had to give up their accounts after having been harassed or abused. So, from now on, Twitter`s policy will feature a new, broader stipulation in connection with the threats of violence. Twitter has replaces the former stipulation with ‘threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.’, which will obviously include more cases of abuse with more abusive account marked for banning.
In addition to the modification of the policy regarding threats of violence, Shreyas Doshi has apologized for the way the former policy looked like, adding that it was too narrow to allow Twitter to deal with all the cases of abuse which occurred over the social platform.
However, a change in the policy is not the only thing that Twitter has done in order to decrease the number of cases of abuse and harassment. It seems that, from now on, the prerogatives of the support team of the social platform will be enlarged and enforced. Beginning with the introduction of this new policy update, Twitter`s support team will be able to ban accounts which are found to be responsible for abuses, for different periods of time, depending on the case. Moreover, this will lend a hand to the comeback against the online harassment on Twitter, since its support team will be able to identify when a group of accounts target a specific account for online harassment, or another group of people or accounts.
Another important introduction to Twitter`s policy is represented by a new product feature who aims at letting the company be able to predict abuses, or the people who were responsible for them, and then act in agreement to the bettered policy. The new feature will take into consideration a wide variety if signals that usually appear in advance to an abuse that is about to happen.
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