Twitter now throwing abusive accounts in temporary sin bin

16 Feb 2017

Image: Wondervisuals/Shutterstock

Twitter has started rolling out some of its new policies to tackle online abuse, including a new feature that will temporarily place abusive accounts in a sin bin.

It has been a busy month for Twitter as the platform continues to actively tackle examples of online abuse.

Last week, it revealed that it would be impossible for people who have been suspended for abusive tweets to create new accounts, and the week before that, it detailed new ways for users to report abusive accounts.

Twitter has said that it will now also recruit its algorithms and staff to act as a police force against trolls, by temporarily placing them in a sin bin.

According to BuzzFeed, the new protocol will block any tweets posted by an abusive account from being seen by people that don’t follow them, including mentions of individuals.

In the situation where a person who follows the blocked account retweets that person’s tweet, it too will not be shown in anyone’s feed.

Anyone who gets a temporary throttling on the site will also receive an email from Twitter, explaining why they were banned.

The ban will last for a period of 12 hours.

Twitter’s ‘identity crisis’

The email states: “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.”

The social network’s VP of engineering, Ed Ho, said: “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.”

How this will affect Twitter’s user growth remains to be seen, but investors have been vocal in their concerns for the platform’s future, with one market analyst recently describing it as being in the midst of an “identity crisis”.

“People that use Twitter get it, the world conceptually gets it, but your average potential user doesn’t,” explained research analyst James Cakmak.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic