Cyberbullying is not an uncommon occurrence anymore, and with that in mind, the executives at Twitter have enacted a new policy and procedure for reporting offensive and aggressive tweets directed at individuals.
In recent years, Twitter has gradually grown in popularity and usage, and has had to make policy changes as a rise in abusive language has been seen on the 140-character message medium.
Under the new policy, users are now able to report tweets that cross the line from aggressive opinion to abusive language. Although the Internet is an open forum in a loose sense, the goal of the policy change is to protect those who are oftentimes on the receiving end of virtual abuse.
“Nobody likes a bully, especially behind a computer screen,” said Angelina Spinuzzi, junior psychology major. “Virtual abuse can be just as bad as physical and verbal abuse, so stopping it as best as possible is a step in the right direction.”
Megan Cristina, director of Trust and Safety at Twitter, said in an official press release that empowering people to express themselves freely on the social network is the main goal of the updated regulations.
“The updated language emphasizes that Twitter will not tolerate behavior intended to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence another user’s voice,” Cristina said. “As always, we embrace and encourage diverse opinions and beliefs, but we will continue to take action on accounts that cross the line into abuse.”
Twitter’s strategy is not simply deleting the tweet or locking the abusive message sender out of their account for a set time period, but a hybrid.
There are certain mandatory actions a user must complete when suspected of posting abusive content, ranging from email and phone verification to the user having to personally delete the tweets that were reported to be harmful.
By creating small obstacles and account reactivation processes such as these, the goal of Twitter’s safety team is to curb abusive behavior by helping everyone on the platform understand what is acceptable with interpersonal communication.