Twitter unveils new steps to counter hate speech and abuse
Twitter is rolling out new measures aimed at countering hate speech and abuse, for which the company has faced strong criticism in recent months.
Twitter said on Tuesday it was broadening its campaign against hate speech and abuse, including steps to prevent people permanently suspended from the micro-blogging site from creating new accounts and to present safer search results.
The company said it has begun identifying people who have been banned for abusive behaviour and it will stop them from creating new accounts.
In July, the company banned conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, an editor of the right-wing site Breitbart News, for "participating in or inciting targeted abuse of individuals".
The new measures were unveiled by Ed Ho, Twitter's vice president of engineering, in a set of tweets. He said making Twitter a safer place "is our primary focus" and more such steps would be taken.
Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus and we are now moving with more urgency than ever.— Ed Ho (@mrdonut) January 31, 2017
Twitter also said it is creating a "safe search" feature that removes tweets with potentially sensitive content and tweets from blocked and muted accounts from search results. The tweets will still exist on Twitter if people look for them, but won't appear in general search results.
The company is also singling out and collapsing potentially abusive and "low-quality" replies so only the most relevant conversations surface. These replies will be accessible to those who seek them out, but Twitter is making them less visible.
Twitter says the changes will be implemented in the coming weeks.
But the company had been under fire for failing, for nearly a decade since its founding, to address hate and abuse on the site. Balancing its reputation as a free speech haven has at times come into conflict with efforts to protect users.