Twitter update takes aim at cyberbullies and trolls

Twitter has announced new updates to its service and policy in an effort to crack down on cyberbullying.

The company has been outspoken about its failures to tackle online abuse, but new changes to the platform should help tackle the issue.

The first of these efforts comes in the form of two policy changes, which mean Twitter can be more effective in battling trolls.

Twitter has updated its violent threats policy so that ‘the prohibition is not limited to direct, specific threats of violence against others’. Instead, it now extends to ‘threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others’.

The second policy change focuses on enforcement, whereby the support team can now lock abusive accounts for specific periods of time. It’s a bit like a time-out for trolls.

Aside from policy changes, Twitter has also begun testing a tool that will help it identify ‘suspected abusive Tweets’, hopefully limiting their reach.

It uses clever algorithms that understand a ‘wide range of signals and context’ that correlates with abuse, to weed out any bad apples.

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It’s certainly in Twitter’s best interests to keep trolls off the platform, as too much abuse will eventually turn off normal users.

We believe that users must feel safe on Twitter in order to fully express themselves,” explained Shreyas Doshi, Twitter’s Director of Product Management.

“As the ultimate goal is to ensure that Twitter is a safe place for the widest possible range of perspectives, we will continue to evaluate and update our approach in this critical arena.”