Twitter improves abuse reporting and blocking

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After some much publicized trolling incidents, including cruel comments that prompted Zelda Williams to (temporarily) quit the service in the wake of her dad Robin Williams’ suicide, Twitter has announced improved tools for reporting abuse and blocking abusive Twitter users.

In a Tweet and a blog post, the company announced that it is “rolling out an improved way to flag abusive tweets.” This will include streamlining the process with fewer steps and allowing people to report abuse in a more conversational (less structured) manner. The service will also let users report abusive Tweets they observe, even if they’re not a party to those Tweets. Here’s a video that shows abuse reporting on mobile devices.

There will also be a new “blocked accounts page” that you’ll be able to access from the settings menu at The new page will show you the accounts that you’ve blocked from being able to view your profile. Earlier this year Twitter added a “mute” feature to enable users to avoid having to see Tweets from people they wish to avoid.

Twitter also pledged to make changes to their back-end systems including better internal tools and increased staffing.

Twitter said that it is “nowhere near being done making changes in this area.” The company plans to add more user controls as well as more changes to its reporting system and “new enforcement procedures for abusive accounts.”
The company also plans to increase its user education to help users better understand the company’s tools as well as how to best protect their safety and privacy when using the service.


Shared responsibility

Twitter’s moves are a step in the right direction as it deals with past issues and a user base that’s posting more than 500 million Tweets a day. Clearly, the company needed to beef us its enforcement and improve its reporting tools but technological improvements alone can’t insure a safe and harassment free experience for all users. Whether it’s Twitter, Facebook or for that matter the comments section of this website, the companies that run sites and services can only do so much to protect their users. People who use the service also need to take some responsibility to respect themselves and others and watch out for other users as well by not tolerating abuse when they see it.

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