In a venture to stop abuse and harassment, Twitter has begun punishing trolls by limiting the reach of their tweets. If an account is reported as abusive and deemed to be violating the social media platform’s rules of use, then they’ll be blocked from showing up on the timelines of anyone who doesn’t follow them.
People found to be behaving badly on the social media site will receive an email notifying them of the consequences. It reads as follows: “Creating a safer environment for people to freely express themselves is critical to the Twitter community, so if behaviour that may violate the Twitter Rules is detected, certain account features become limited. We’ve detected some potentially abusive behaviour from your account, so only your follower can see your activity on Twitter for the amount of time shown below.”
Now, you won't be notified about replies to conversations started by people you've blocked/muted, unless replies are from people you follow.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 16, 2017
The ‘time-out’ is temporary thing, but during that time other users won’t be able to receive tweets or notifications of retweets from flagged accounts they don’t follow. Recently, Twitter also announced their crusade against accounts made solely to abuse people. In November last year, the ‘mute’ option was brought about to let users filter particular accounts, words and phrases.
Twitter’s vice president of engineering said in a statement about the recent changes: “Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus. We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic. That’s put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won’t tolerate it and we’re launching new efforts to stop it.”
Some people on the site have been tweeting their experience in the temporary digital time-out. Many, as you’d expect, have the word ‘deplorable’ in their usernames, homophobic and white supremacist references and use phrases straight off the alt-right bingo books like ‘libtard’. However, Twitter isn’t just banning people for specific words or language, but, as Buzzfeed reports, specific behaviour across the entire account. Twitter will, according to a spokesperson, continue giving users the best controls to protect themselves against abuse.
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