Twitter Caught between Anti-abuse and User Growth

abusive content on Twitter

Twitter has thrown some light on its anti-harassment initiatives and their positive impact, but many say that there is still a long way to go to zero down the abusive tweets on its platform.

The problem is, the company did not reveal any detailed information or actual figures, such as how many abuse reports have been filed or the number of actions taken.

As uncovered by BuzzFeed, Twitter is filtering out abuse on its platform in its latest anti-harassment initiative. Users have begun getting notices that their tweets are on a kind of time-out. These users are being told that “only your followers can see your activity on Twitter for the amount of time shown below,” followed by a number of hours — the examples seen so far are all 12 hours. It starts when the user clicks a button to “Continue to Twitter.”

Twitter is working hard on this, and has come up with a number of anti-abuse controls. But all of this has minimal impact on its abuse and remediation metrics. BuzzFeed is right in saying that it is not very effective and hasn’t been successful in curbing as many issues as it could have.

According to Twitter’s announcement today, the company claims to be “taking action on 10 times the number of abusive accounts every day, compared with the same time last year”.

While there is still much for Twitter to do, users are comparatively experiencing less abuse in recent days. The company said that the team is not only relying on technology but also reviewing the content regularly to reduce the abuses. Post suspension of account, if the user recreates the account, the new system identifies and removes it.

The ideal scenario would be to just ban abusers permanently instead of working around the issue. But Twitter, like every other company, needs to expand its user base and doesn’t want its recently healthy growth rate stagnate. Given the situation they’re in and anti-abuse practices blocking and removing accounts, that’s going to be very hard for them to balance out.

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