Twitter, which has had longstanding difficulty stamping out the trolling and hate speech that proliferates across its platform, has announced three new features today aimed to curb this behavior.
First, Twitter said in a blog post that it will identify users who have had their accounts permanently suspended in the past, and make it impossible for them to create new accounts. This, the company says, will serve to block the kinds of accounts that are frequently created with the sole purpose of abusing and harassing others.
Second, Twitter said it is working on a ‘safe search’ feature that will remove tweets containing sensitive content — as well as all tweets from all blocked and muted accounts — from search results. And finally, Twitter is working to identify and “collapse” potentially abusive and low-quality replies “so the most relevant conversations are brought forward.” While these replies will be available to those who seek them out, Twitter said, it will take some digging. This feature is slated to roll out in coming weeks.
Twitter has taken many recent strides to clamp down on abuse — though its latest blog post acknowledges that the company still has work to do. Last year, for instance, Twitter formed a Trust & Safety Council in collaboration with 40 social justice organizations. And in November, Twitter rolled out the ability to mute keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations — as well as easier ways to report hateful conduct.
In a tweet, Twitter’s VP of engineering Ed Ho said that the latest updates were “Just the beginning,” adding that the company would broach a more fast-moving and open approach as it works to stamp out harassment. “We’ll listen, learn, and keep shipping until we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel.”