You may have heard of Twitter abuse.
Between a divisive US election that saw nearly 20,000 overtly anti-semitic tweets aimed at 800 journalists, and a wave of racist comments directed at SNL and Ghostbusters actress Leslie Jones, 2016 has seen a rise in hate and vitriol on the social media platform that has left countless users clamoring for Twitter to react.
(Supposedly, Twitter’s problem with abuse was enough to persuade Disney to back away from purchasing the platform.)
And now, exactly one week after having more influence on a U.S. election than ever before, Twitter is finally making an effort to stem that vitriol.
“Because Twitter happens in a public and in real-time, we’ve had some challenges keeping up with and curbing abusive conduct. We took a step back to reset and take a new approach, find and focus on the most critical needs, and rapidly improve,” the company wrote in a Nov. 15 blog post.
To address its platform’s rampant abuse, the social media giant is taking three steps:
- Expanding the mute button to the notification tab, which will allow users to mute keywords, phrases, and entire conversations they don’t want to see notifications for;
- Reinventing its hateful conduct policy to prohibit conduct that targets people based on race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease, and to make it easier for users to report that conduct when they see it happen;
- Retraining its support teams and improving internal tools and systems to deal with abusive conduct more efficiently.
Twitter insists that these changes are just the beginning, as the company “doesn’t expect these announcements to suddenly remove abusive conduct from Twitter.”
“No single action by us would do that,” the company said. “Instead we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.”