Twitter Takes a Step Forward in The Abuse of ‘Trolls’

Twitter recently announced improvements that streamline the reporting of online bullies commonly referred to as Twitter ‘trolls.’ The social media platform is taking a stand against web harassment by making it easier to report abusive messages on their site.

Recent Stream of Twitter Abuse

Twitter Takes a Step Forward in The Abuse of ‘Trolls’The new updates are a response to a recent surge of Twitter abuse. Targets have included celebrities and users of other industries, such as online gaming. Zelda Williams, daughter of Robin Williams, abandoned her Twitter account completely after numerous and highly-publicized attacks. Women in the gaming industry have also been target for Twitter ‘trolls.’ A movement called Gamergate included an onslaught of hate and even threats of violence via Tweet. Several women left their homes out of concern for their safety.

How the New Changes Will Limit the Action of ‘Trolls’

The first and major change is a more mobile-friendly reporting process. In the past, reporting a ‘troll’ meant filling out a nine-part questionnaire that was later reviewed manually by Twitter staff. In the new system, a user will need little information to report a ‘troll,’ and Twitter will prioritize reports to respond faster to repeat offenders. Shreyas Doshi, Director of Product Management and Safety, says more changes are underway and could include stricter punishments for abusers.

Twitter is also making it easier to block a user and manage your list of blocked accounts. Brianna Wu, a game developer and victim of ‘troll’ attacks, said reporting the abuse was difficult because she had to paste individual tweets into a lengthy report. When it came to blocking users, she had to use a third-party tool to review which users she had blocked. The new app will make this process much simpler.

“Everything that happens in the world happens on Twitter,” said a Twitter representative. The company’s aim is to make that world a safer place.

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