Ok, so it is unlikely that Twitter will actually ban Trump’s account, or the POTUS account (as much as some people might hope for it), but they did confirm that they will be cracking down on abusive tweets. They have attempted to do this in the past, with some limited success, but it seems that it is an ongoing effort and that they will be stepping up their game.
According to Ed Ho, VP of engineering at Twitter, “We’re taking steps to identify people who have been permanently suspended and stop them from creating new accounts.” He later went on and said, “This focuses more effectively on some of the most prevalent and damaging forms of behavior, particularly accounts that are created only to abuse and harass others.”
They are also releasing a new ‘safe search’ initiative, which is set up to get rid of any Tweets that have content that could be sensitive. This feature will also filter out any comments or Tweets from users that have muted accounts.
Twitter’s decision to hide or collapse abusive content, rather than delete or ban it, is in keeping with its long standing position as a defender of free speech and “people being able to see all sides of any topic,” as Ho said at the very top of his post.
Although the company frequently updates policies on abuse and harassment, it remains unclear when Twitter decides to take action. It has in the past “issued warnings that also require the deletion of tweets,” according to a statement Twitter gave after suspending Milo Yiannopoulos, the tech editor of conservative site Breitbart, from its platform.
In a BuzzFeed survey of 2,700 Twitter users, about 90% of respondents said the social network did nothing after they reported abuse.
After a banner year for vitriol and harassment on Twitter, users lobbied CEO Jack Dorsey for a more efficient way to cut down on abuse and get rid of people who use the platform to harass others.
How effective this new effort will be remains to be seen. As we all know, it can be very difficult to flush out the bad actors on any website. A platform like Twitter has so many troublesome individuals that it may be impossible to put a real dent in their ability to post.