Twitter Targets Trolls

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Twitter announced this morning that it was finally taking a harder stand against trolls, in effect, locking out abusive users from their accounts.

The change comes in the form of two tweaks to tweeting policy: No. 1, the company is introducing a so-called "enforcement option" that allows its support team to lock abusive Twitter accounts for specific periods of time; No. 2, Twitter will be ramping up its requirements for users to confirm their phone numbers and will be asking more users to delete certain tweets.

This morning, however, Slate's Amanda Hess questioned why Twitter officials won't have an open conversation about harassment on their own platform. Instead, Hess writes, Twitter executives prefer to take questions on CNBC, participate in a Q&A with The New York Times, and most recently wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post.

In addition to its policy changes regarding filtering threats, Twitter said today that it would refine its definition of "violent language" to make it easier for the company to address abusive language.

“Our previous policy was unduly narrow and limited our ability to act on certain kinds of threatening behavior,” wrote Twitter officials. “The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse.”


Twitter is also testing technology to help the firm identify suspected abusive tweets to limit their reach.

"This feature takes into account a wide range of signals and context that frequently correlates with abuse, including the age of the account itself, and the similarity of a tweet to other content that our safety team has in the past independently determined to be abusive," the company stated.