The silence of the trolls: Twitter to permanently ban abusers from respawning

7 Feb 201729 Shares

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Twitter is clamping down on internet bullies. Image: Marcos Mesa Sam Wordley/Shutterstock

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Twitter is going to make it impossible for people who have been suspended for abusive tweets to create new accounts.

Last week, Twitter introduced new ways for people to report abusive tweets in a bid to help victims of targeted harassment.

In time for Safer Internet Day 2017, the social media platform is introducing three new changes.

‘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’
– ED HO

These include preventing the creation of new abusive accounts, bringing forward safer search results and collapsing potentially abusive low-quality tweets.

Twitter will no longer feed the trolls

Twitter said that it is taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and will prevent them from creating new accounts.

It will focus on some of the more prevalent and damaging forms of behaviour, particularly accounts that have been created with the purpose of abusing and harassing others.

Twitter said that it is also working on “safe search” services that remove tweets containing potentially sensitive content, as well as tweets from blocked and muted accounts, from search results.

While this content will still be discoverable, it will no longer clutter the search engine.

Twitter has also been working on identifying and hiding potentially abusive replies to the most relevant conversations.

Once again, the tweet replies will still be accessible for those who search for them, but they will be less visible in the general flow.

This change is expected to roll out in the coming weeks.

“Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus,” said Ed Ho, VP of engineering at Twitter.

“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.”

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com