Twitter is targeting abusive messages with a number of steps announced today as social media sites are coming under growing criticism for hate speech.
“Twitter said it was making it easier for its users to hide content they do not wish to see on the service and to report abusive posts, even when those messages are directed at other users,” The New York Times reports. “The company has given its support teams training to better identify mistreatment on Twitter.”
Del Harvey, Twitter’s vice president of trust and security, is quoted saying: “There’s a fine line between free expression and abuse, and this launch is another step on the path toward getting rid of abuse. We’ve been launching new products to address this, and the cadence of product releases is picking up. We have a lot planned on this path.”
The Times adds: “Twitter has not had a comprehensive response for dealing with hate speech, largely because the company did not want to limit freedom of expression on the service. But over time, Twitter has rolled out measures to tackle the problem. It has let people mute the accounts of other users, effectively making their content disappear from view. Last year, it issued an explicit prohibition against hateful conduct.”
The report notes that today’s announcement means Twitter is taking further action.
“It is letting people more specifically block out what they do not want to see on the service, including muting words, phrases and even entire conversations,” The Times reports. “Twitter is also making it easier for people to report abusive behavior, even if they are only bystanders to the abuse, and for the company to evaluate those reports. And it has overhauled its approach to training support teams, holding special sessions on cultural and historical context for hateful conduct.”