Twitter Inc. is cracking down on abusive tweeters by hiding their content and preventing banned users from creating new accounts. According to a report by Bloomberg, The updates, detailed in a blog post, come after years of criticism that the company hasn’t done enough to combat abuse and harassment. The company’s failure to curb harassment may have hurt its ability to seal a purchase deal last year with several suitors, including Walt Disney Co. Several consecutive quarters of stagnant growth has driven the plan to become more pleasant for users. However, James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co., said the change may not attract more users.
“At best, it helps with retention of existing users. They have to walk a fine line. By taking ownership of the policing, it’s critical that they maintain objectivity.”
With the updates, Twitter is providing some technological solutions to a problem that in the past was mostly addressed by a human team around the world that reviews content after it’s reported by users. As a result, Twitter said it is responding to research and feedback from users who have been frustrated by harassment and the company’s ability to deal with it.
Ed Ho, Twitter’s vice president of engineering, said in a blog post new measures that aim to hid abusive tweets and a new approach from keeping abusers from coming back under a new name are key. The company also plans to roll out anti-abuse features more quickly going forward. Ho said accelerating the process is key.
“We didn’t move fast enough last year. Now we’re thinking about progress in days and hours not weeks and months.”
Whether the changes will make the social network safer for most users remains to be seen, Paul Booth, an associate professor at DePaul University who researches social media use, told the Wall Street Journal.
“Not doing anything isn’t an option, but the lack of impact with what has been done shows just how hard of a problem this is to solve.”