twitter’s newest feature helps crack down on cyberbullying

As trolls spiral more and more out of control, Twitter tries to shut down the massive amount of online abuse.

by Blair Cannon
Apr 26 2016, 5:18pm

photo by kelly sikkema

Anyone familiar with Twitter knows exactly how central criticizing other people is to the social media platform's existence and popularity. Any article that attempts to illustrate "the people's" or "the Internet's" reaction to something probably cites at least a few random angry Tweets to send the message; with the mention of Twitter, the word "backlash" is usually never far behind. In short, the Twitterverse can be a harsh environment.

Up until yesterday, trolling and harassment were exceedingly difficult to track down, as users could only report one individual Tweet at a time. This made it hard for those over at Twitter HQ to fully understand the extent of a user's harassment or trolling experience. Often, cyberbullying on Twitter comes from more than just a single Tweet, and can come from a group of people as opposed to just one individual.

As of yesterday, users can now flag multiple Tweets in one report, allowing people to give Twitter a better picture of the kind of abuse they are experiencing. So instead of filing an individual report every single time a user sees an inappropriate or harmful Tweet, they can show the history of abuse, all of the perpetrators, and each of the actual Tweets involved. Ideally, a more informed Twitter support team will be able to tackle cyberbullying faster.

Back in February, Twitter created a Trust and Safety Council to start helping to implement policies like this one, so it's safe to say this won't be the last safety update any time soon. Despite the somewhat useful mute and block functions — which include group block lists and automated blocking — this update to the report function seems the most beneficial in confronting online harassment. We imagine any suspected "Beckys with the good hair" will be rather busy this morning. 


Text Blair Cannon
Image via iStock