Twitter officially announced the release of a new set of anti-harassment features that should help users detect and protect themselves against abuse on the social media network. Furthermore, the newly added tools will also allow users to explain better why they are reporting or blocking a particular Twitter user.
The social media company had made it easy to report spam practices, but now, the additional tools will also let users report a greater diversity of online abuse, including cyber-bullying, impersonations, and even self-inflicted abuse or suicide. On top of all that, users will also be able to report the abuse on behalf of other Twitter users, even if they themselves are not the recipient of the abusive activity.
In the new abuse reporting workflow, users are asked who is being affected when they choose HARASSMENT. They can either answer I AM or SOMEONE ELSE IS. They can then select from a menu that lists a variety of abusive activities like HARASSING ME or THREATENING VIOLENCE OR PHYSICAL HARM.
The great thing about Twitter's anti-harassment tools is that they are designed to be mobile-friendly. The social media company also states that it is working on several enhancements in order to respond more promptly to every abuse report being sent its way.
Another notable new feature is the Blocked Accounts page now up at Twitter's SETTINGS menu. In this page, users can see for themselves which Twitter accounts they have blocked to date. Twitter says the Blocked Accounts page will feature even more options in the coming months.
Twitter has also made changes to the way the blocking system operates. Previously, blocked accounts could still tweet and reply with you but you would no longer see this activity. But now, blocked accounts will be completely barred from viewing your profile.
In the past, abusers could still see your profile but could no longer follow your tweets. If they try to follow your account, they would get a message notifying them that they have been blocked. They can still view their victim's tweets through other means (as retweeted by other users for instance), but they can no longer interact in real-time with their victims.
All in all, this is a step in the right direction for Twitter, who in certain circles has been criticized for being more reactive than proactive in combating online abuse. In recent times, the world has witnessed several cases of Twitter abuse, with some of the victims women.
Twitter says that, for now, the additional tools are only available for a limited number of users, but in the coming weeks, everyone should be able to make use of the new anti-harassment features.
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