Twitter has faced criticism from all sides for failing to effectively tackle trolling and harassment on the platform. Even former CEO Dick Costolo told employees in February that he was “ashamed of how poorly” the company had dealt with the issue while he was still at the company, revealing that the site was actively “[losing] core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”
The site has taken some steps to combat the ongoing problem since then, introducing shared blocklists directly to the site, so people can create and block large lists of people who are harassing them or sending unwanted messages, and share them with others who are also being targeted by trolls. It also rolled out a long-overdue update for its tool for reporting abuse late last year.
But trolling is still a huge problem on the site, even more than any other social network. One study found that 88% of online abuse occurs on Twitter, despite being far smaller than rival social networks like Facebook.
Now the company has launched a new “Safety Centre,” which sets out its commitment to “building a safer Twitter,” and is intended to be a “resource for anyone to learn about online safety.” The site flags up all the tools people can use to control how they appear to others on Twitter, and what they see on the site themselves, including how to mute, block and report content and users.
It also sets out Twitter’s policies regarding harassment, spam, impersonation, parody accounts and more, and explains how the company enforces those policies and deals with reports of bad behaviour.
This site in itself won’t necessarily make all that much difference, although it does signal that the company is taking the trolling problem increasingly seriously. In a blog post introducing shared blocklists, the company suggested that more of these sorts of changes were on the way.
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