Twitter announced Tuesday it is implementing measures to fight hate speech and online abuse for which it and other social media sites have been criticized, especially since the election.
It will be easier for users to hide content they don’t want to see on Twitter, and reporting abusive posts will also be easier, even when the posts are aimed at someone else. Additional training also has been given to staff on how to identify abusive or hateful posts.
“There’s a fine line between free expression and abuse, and this launch is another step on the path toward getting rid of abuse,” Twitter’s Vice President of Trust and Security Del Harvey said, The New York Times reported. “We have a lot planned on this path.”
Reports have been circulating around Twitter of increased taunts and harassment of minorities since the election. President-elect Donald Trump even addressed these behaviors when he appeared on “60 Minutes” Sunday, saying “stop it” to any supporters engaging in these behaviors.
It has been difficult for Twitter to address hate speech and abuse without unnecessarily limiting freedom of expression on its site, but it seems Twitter now feels the time has come for action beyond telling users that hateful conduct is prohibited.
Another change being implemented on Twitter gives users the ability to mute specific words, phrases, and entire conversations they do not wish to see.
Harvey acknowledges the problem may never be entirely solved but feels Twitter’s actions are a step in the right direction toward letting users know their words matter and that they could be shut down if they continue to post hateful words and ideas in their posts.
“While we have taken steps over the years to try to combat abuse and harassment ... we have tried to make sure we are not making decisions that have unintended, negative consequences and ramifications,” Harvey said, USA Today reported.
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