Twitter knows that the public nature of its platform can encourage trolls or other abusive parties to join and pollute the conversation. In the past, a series of high profile men and women have been driven off Twitter for a short time or even for good, after suffering harassment on the plaform. Nicki Minaj, Stephen Fry and Downtown Abbey-star, Lily James, are good examples. Twitter is determined to change this.
As Twitter needs to get new users, and retain existing ones, doing away with trolls and users whose behaviours cross the line, is a necessity. Working toward that end, Twitter already empowered users to report, block and mute users – on Tuesday, Twitter updated its official rules and announced a range of new measures to reinforce its policy and siphon off abusive behaviours.
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Upon breaching the updated Rules, reported users may go through mandatory actions: accounts may be locked for a given time and users may be asked to register a phone number and delete a tweet that is deemed as abusive, in order to regain access.
While hate speech won’t vanish overnight, we can only give Twitter a round of applause for taking this matter seriously and doing something about it. The new measures are several steps in the right direction to fight online harassment and the relative impunity that abusive users have enjoyed. It makes us really look forward to a “nicer” Twitter.