Twitter is making it easier for users to record abuse for police

18 Mar 2015

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Twitter is introducing a new feature that makes it easier for users to report abusive and threatening tweets to the police.

The social network has often been criticised for its lack of action when dealing with abusive users. Just last month, CEO Dick Costolo admitted he was “ashamed” at how ineffective its been at tackling harassment. But this latest feature – which is currently being rolled out – should make it easier for people to log any vitriolic material sent to them, which can later be presented to police if they so choose.

When reporting abuse to Twitter, users will now be given the option of receiving a summary of that report via email. Clicking the new ‘Email report’ button will compile the threatening post, its URL, the abusive person’s username, a timestamp of when the tweet was sent, as well as the victim’s own account information.

In a blog post announcing the new feature, Twitter’s product manager for user safety Ethan Avey wrote: “While we take threats of violence seriously and will suspend responsible accounts when appropriate, we strongly recommend contacting your local law enforcement if you’re concerned about your physical safety.”

Avery also pointed out that the company’s guidelines for law enforcement explains what additional information it has for police.

Just last week, Twitter made changes to its terms of service that expressly prohibit the posting of revenge porn or other non-consensual, intimate photos.

In the new terms Twitter said that along with private or confidential information such as credit card numbers or street addresses: “You may not post intimate photos or videos that were taken or distributed without the subject’s consent.”

Report abuse image via Shutterstock

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Dean is a freelance journalist and editor covering media.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com