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Twitter Says Its New Safety Features Are Working

Variety logo Variety 7/20/2017 Janko Roettgers
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Twitter users are facing less harassment and abuse than they did just a few months ago, the company claimed Thursday in a first public review of its most recent safety features. The company’s consumer product and engineering GM Ed Ho admitted in a blog post that “there is still much work to be done” to make Twitter a safer and more welcoming platform, but also shared a few data points to highlight progress.

The amount of flagged accounts that Twitter is taking action on every day has increased tenfold year-over-year, Ho said. And Twitter is cracking down on repeat offenders who try to open new accounts after their old ones have been banned. Over the last four months, Twitter took actions against twice the number of such “backup” accounts than before, according to Ho.

Twitter began to step up its fight against harassment and abuse earlier this year, and recently introduced a kind of penalty box for abusive accounts. Users who step over the line are seeing their accounts’ reach limited for a number of hours, during which their tweets can’t be seen by anyone who isn’t following them, even if retweeted by their followers.

“Accounts that we put into this period of limited functionality generate 25% fewer abuse reports, and approximately 65% of these accounts are in this state just once,” Ho said Thursday.

Twitter has been under fire in the past for not doing enough against harassment and abuse on its service. The new measures have generally been received as a step in the right direction, and the data shared Thursday seems to suggest that they are indeed having an effect. However, it’s hard to judge the real impact of these measures without Twitter sharing any actual numbers on the amount of users that are being flagged every day, and number that it ultimately takes actions against.

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