New Twitter harassment policy leads to lock down of accounts of offenders

Twitter has modified its policy regarding abuse and harassment by users on the social networking program. In its official blog, Twitter says they have made two changes to the harassment policy of Twitter.

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First, they will lock down the account of the offender for a definite time period. Then the offender will be asked to verify his or her account with a phone number to which a code will be sent so that the offender can access his or her account. Upon successful verification of the phone number, which will give the physical details of the offender to Twitter, he or she will be asked to delete the offending tweet(s) before the account is restored (see above images).

There has been much pressure from Twitter users on the company to look into the harassment policy time and again. The users of social networking, or even the Internet, feel more vulnerable as they cannot track the physical whereabouts of offenders to lodge a formal complaint against him or her. This makes the offenders more confident and they continue to harass people with their tweets. There have been instances where social networking sites have shared physical addresses in case of threats but that has been limited to extreme threats.

The second Twitter harassment policy upgrade, or rather, an improvement proposed by Twitter is to use a system of scanning the tweets randomly so that they can better identify tweets of abuse and harassment nature.

The official blog of Twitter says that the new feature will take into account, a range of signals and contexts that correlate with abuse. The factors will include the age of Twitter account and similarity of tweets with other tweets that have been previously identified as being abusive. According to the blog:

While dedicating more resources toward better responding to abuse reports is necessary and even critical, an equally important priority for us is identifying and limiting the incentives that enable and even encourage some users to engage in abuse. We’ll be monitoring how these changes discourage abuse and how they help ensure the overall health of a platform that encourages everyone’s participation.

These changes were long due and if implemented successfully, will stop many from abusing the platform. The blog, however, does not detail what constitutes a harassment. The official account of Twitter on the social networking site too did not say anything about the new policy neither did they reply to our query regarding what basis will they use to identify tweets as being abusive or harassment. We’ll update this post if they reply.

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Arun Kumar is obsessed with technology, especially the Internet. He deals with the multimedia content needs of training and corporate houses. He also offers online training for Business English. Follow him on Twitter @PowercutIN

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