Abuse and threats on social media is not new. Twitter has been trying to combat troll problems for years. The company’s CEO, Dick Costolo, stated earlier in February that the company “sucks” at dealing with abuse. Taking full blame for not addressing the issue, Costolo says that the company is losing core users daily because of abuse and cyberbullying.
Twitter took steps to make reporting abuse easier in December and even partnered with an advocacy group in hopes of stopping harassment. None of these measures have worked to curb the main problem of trolling.
An announcement of new measures has been made. The measures will attempt to stop trolling by using a user’s phone number as a piece of identification. Currently an optional feature, users that create new accounts will have their numbers checked against a troll database. The company states that known troll accounts will be locked until a number has been provided.
A positive step forward, adding a number will still be optional. Trolls can essentially create a new account without adding a number.
The company further announced that they have tripled their support team with the intent of putting more focus on user safety. Making it easier to report abuse, the team states that they now receive five times the amount of reports. Initially, only users directly involved in a conversation were allowed to report abuse. The company now allows third-parties to report abuse.
Improvements are to be gradually rolled out in the coming weeks. Reporting can now be done for impersonation, sharing of private or personal information and self-harm concerns.
Twitter ensures that most users will not notice a difference in the platform. Most of the chances will only affect trolls and will be done behind the scenes to help make Twitter a better place for conversation without the influx of trolls and abuse.