Twitter’s New Safety Centre: Underwhelming

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That Twitter has a problem with trolls is worse than stating the obvious. In fact, for the majority of netizens who have not signed up on the site yet, Twitter is more or less synonymous with trolls, because it is this jeering and mocking on the microblogging site that garners maximum attention. The company, however, took some heat for brushing the issue under the carpet until its former CEO Dick Costolo decided to acknowledge the problem through a memo stating that the site “sucked at dealing with abuse and trolls”.

“sucked at dealing with abuse and trolls”

The microblogging site was swift to respond to this criticism that went public, and decided to take a step towards setting its house in order by introducing an all-new safety centre. The newly introduced safety centre serves as a hub of information, tips and features that deal with combating trolls and safeguarding users’ privacy. The company claims to have roped in some of the best online safety experts, who are committed to the cause of offering users a safer digital space.

One of the key improvements in the new safety centre introduced by Twitter is the feature of dedicated segments with advice and tips for parents, teens and educators. In addition to this, Twitter has introduced some fresh links that help users manage the time spent on the site better, along with a revised set of policies that are in sync with the diverse outlooks of different users. The microblogging site has also revisited its review process in order to cut down on the response time for dealing with reports of abuse. The site is also focusing on taking swift action against habitual abusers.

Since Costolo’s memo criticizing the loss of valuable users due to poor management of trolls and abuse was shot off in February, Twitter has been churning out new tools to rein in the problem. Earlier this year, the company introduced an all new feature that simplifies the process of reporting incidents of extreme harassment to the police, besides putting in place ‘quality filters’ to screen highly abusive content from users’ feed.

But is it really an effective step?

That's what we'd like to ask you, Twitter.
That’s what we’d like to ask you, Twitter.

In its entirety, the new safety centre, however, is just a smart re-hash of existing features and tips with only a handful of new features. Several aspects of the safety centre have nothing new to offer except some obvious tips on handling abuse such as tips for maintaining a strong password or a lowdown on the process of reporting abuse. Also, there are many sub-sections of this safety centre that merely contain links to already existing content on the site’s policies. Some of the links present as answers to questions pertaining to violent threats on the site or anti-abuse policy have not been updated in months.

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Though the safety centre initiative has its heart in the right place, it comes with its share of drawbacks. How effective it proves in making Twitter a safer, troll-free environment, of course, remains to be seen. But we wouldn’t recommend holding your breath.

Image: Twitter


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