NEW YORK, N.Y. – Twitter is trying to make it easier for victims and witnesses of online harassment to report it.
The short messaging service said Tuesday that the new tools will roll out to users over the coming weeks. It’s available now for a small group of Twitter’s 284 million members. Among other changes, the updates streamline the process for reporting abuse, especially on mobile devices.
Twitter says it also made “behind-the-scenes improvements” that speed up response times to reported tweets and accounts.
Harassment and bullying on Twitter is not new. Recently, an online campaign dubbed “GamerGate” has led to the harassment of women in the video game industry for criticizing the lack of diversity and how women are portrayed in gaming.
“We are nowhere near being done making changes in this area,” wrote Shreyas Doshi, director of product management and user safety, in a blog post. “In the coming months, you can expect to see additional user controls, further improvements to reporting and new enforcement procedures for abusive accounts.”
That said, it is unlikely that the improvements will put an end to harassment on Twitter. While users can block accounts, and Twitter can delete them, there is nothing stopping bullies from setting up new accounts under different names.
A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that nearly three-quarters of American adults who use the Internet have witnessed online harassment. Forty per cent have experienced it themselves. The types of harassment ranged from name-calling to physical threats, sexual harassment and stalking. Half of those who were harassed said they didn’t know the person who had most recently attacked them.