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Twitter Claim They're Winning the Battle Against Abusive Behaviour

BBC
After much maligning, some of it very recent, Twitter have hit back against their critics and claimed that they're actually winning the fight against bad conduct on the platform. No social network's reputation has suffered more for the existence of trolls, hate speakers and extremists than Twitter, and for the most part, they've been unable to quash any of the accusations thrown at them about it.

Typically, any statement Twitter make on the subject amounts to either "we're working on it" or the introduction of a feature that purports to deal with the issue, but really just redirects it. On Thursday, they made a statement with a little bit more heft to it - they claim to have identified and disciplined ten times as many abusive accounts as they did a year ago. They also said they're getting fewer resurrected hate accounts and fewer accounts being blocked by other users.

They didn't release any exact figures, or even ballpark figures, which is a wise move on their part but may arouse suspicion amongst the more skeptical critics, and they also haven't revealed any information about the effectiveness of the new features they've brought in to deal with abuse in past 12 months. It should also be pointed out that the increased number of accounts being muzzled might not necessarily just suggest that Twitter are getting better at identifying said accounts, it might also mean that more of them are springing up.

Regardless, progress is progress, and this is the biggest single push Twitter have made against this issue since launching. Jack Dorsey has shown himself again and again not only to be committed to prioritising the safety of the users, but also completely open to their criticisms and suggestions for improvement. This milestone, if it is indeed as progressive as it seems, feels like an affirmation of that ethos.

Even though celebrities are still quitting Twitter, and horror stories about abuse behaviour are frequent, there are positive signs. Nothing has spiralled out of control in the way GamerGate did since then, and enforced limitations on abusive accounts have proven to be far more effective than simply blocking or banning them, which has become tantamount to social media whack-a-mole.

The one concrete figure Twitter were forthcoming with was the number of accounts being blocked by other users - a 40% decline in the last four months. That, in and of itself, does represent positive change, but what matters is keeping that consistent. In the past, encouraging trends have swiftly given way to the status quo, as trolls have found ways to negotiate the obstacles placed in their way. It's not enough to push things forward, Twitter will have to keep the momentum going if they ever hope to turn the platform into a legitimately civil environment (and/or get Ed Sheeran back).



Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Twitter Claim They're Winning the Battle Against Abusive Behaviour Reviewed by Callum Davies on Tuesday, July 25, 2017 Rating: 5

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