Peace in our timelines: Twitter forms expert council to curb harassment

10 Feb 201619 Shares

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Could Twitter's new expert council of 40 groups beat the bullies?

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Twitter has formed an expert council, made up of 40 anti-harassment groups, researchers and academics, aimed at curbing online abuse, promoting free speech and making the micro-blogging site a safer and friendlier place.

It has also promised new tools and policies to tackle trolling and other forms of abuse that are putting users off using the social network.

Last year, trolling and online abuse reached new lows with the Gamergate saga, which led to former CEO Dick Costolo speaking out about the harassment of women, in particular, on the site and saying Twitter could do a lot better.

‘It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320m users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression’
– PATRICIA CARTES, TWITTER

“To ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies,” said Patricia Cartes, head of global policy outreach at Twitter.

“With hundreds of millions of tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power.

“It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320m users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression.”

The end of the triumph of the trolls

The new Twitter Trust and Safety Council consists of safety advocates, academics and researchers focused on minors, media literacy, digital citizenship and efforts around greater compassion and empathy on the internet.

It also includes grassroots privacy organisations and community groups.

Among the 40 organisations are experts from 13 regions that have joined the council including Anti-Bullying Pro, the Anti-Defamation League, the Dangerous Speech Project, EU Kids Online, the Family Online Safety Institute, Feminist Frequency and the Internet Watch Foundation, to name a few.

“We are thrilled to work with these organisations to ensure that we are enabling everyone, everywhere to express themselves with confidence on Twitter,” Cartes said.

Peace bird image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com