Twitter has officially announced three new changes to the platform in their latest effort to combat “abuse and harassment.”
The changes include extra measures to stop suspended users from creating new accounts, “safer search results,” and the collapsing of “potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets.”
“Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus,” claimed the company in a blog post update on Tuesday. “We stand for freedom of expression and people being able to see all sides of any topic. That’s put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices. We won’t tolerate it and we’re launching new efforts to stop it.”
“Building on the work we began in November, we’re continuing to work on ways to give people more control over what they see on Twitter,” they continued. “Last week, we introduced an improvement to reporting abusive Tweets that gives people experiencing targeted harassment more ways to report it. Today, we’re announcing three changes: stopping the creation of new abusive accounts, bringing forward safer search results, and collapsing potentially abusive or low-quality Tweets.”
“Safer search results” will work by removing “sensitive” tweets and tweets from blocked and muted users from your searches on the platform, while their new collapsing system will hide a large quantity of replies on your tweets. Twitter does not explain what qualifies a tweet for being deemed “sensitive,” and while it says “this type of content will be discoverable if you want to find it,” it doesn’t say how since “it won’t clutter search results any longer.”
Twitter has also not yet explained how they will combat the creation of new accounts from suspended users.
“In the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to roll out product changes – some changes will be visible and some less so – and will update you on progress every step of the way,” concluded Twitter in their post. “With every change, we’ll learn, iterate, and continue to move at this speed until we’ve made a significant impact that people can feel.”
The platform has introduced numerous other attempts to combat “harassment” and “hate speech” over the past few years, including a word filtering tool inspired by the free-speech Twitter alternative Gab.
Twitter, who recently donated $1.6 million to the ACLU, has repeatedly been accused of censoring conservative and libertarian accounts over the past few years, with numerous high-profile users having been permanently suspended from the platform.
Breitbart Senior Editor MILO, Pharmaceutical Entrepreneur Martin Shkreli, and rapper Azealia Banks have all been permanently suspended from the platform, while others have been temporarily suspended following political remarks.
Despite the sanctioning of right-wing accounts, numerous abusive users have been allowed to stay on Twitter.
In July, Twitter refused to sanction an account that sexually harassed and sent violent threats to a female Breitbart News contributor, while rapper Talib Kweli was able to repeatedly call numerous black conservatives “coons,” including Breitbart’s Jerome Hudson, Sheriff David Clarke, and anti-extremist activist Maajid Nawaz, without suspension.
Threats against the president have also been repeatedly allowed on Twitter, with over 12,000 tweets calling for the assassination of President Trump having been made since he took office on January 20.
Blogger forced to pay ‘substantial sum’ to Melania Trump in defamation lawsuit
Feb 7, 2017
A Maryland blogger has been forced to pay a “substantial sum” to Melania Trump as part of a settlement for a defamation lawsuit over an article containing unsubstantiated claims that the first lady once worked as an escort, her lawyers announced Tuesday.
“I posted an article on August 2, 2016 about Melania Trump that was replete with false and defamatory statements about her,” Webster Tarpley, the 71-year-old blogger, said in a statement by Trump’s attorneys, according to the Washington Post.
Trump’s legal team declined to provide the settlement amount. Tarpley, of Gaithersburg, didn’t respond to requests from the Washington Post for comment, but his lawyer confirmed a settlement had been reached.
“I acknowledge that these false statements were very harmful and hurtful to Mrs. Trump and her family, and therefore I sincerely apologize to Mrs. Trump, her son, her husband and her parents for making these false statements,” Trump’s lawyers — in comments attributed to Tarpley — wrote in their statement.
Trump on Monday also re-filed a libel lawsuit against the corporation that publishes the Daily Mail’s website, this time in New York, for reporting on the escort rumors.
Trump had previously filed the lawsuit against Mail Media Inc. in Maryland, but a judge earlier this month ruled the case shouldn’t be filed in Maryland and dismissed it. The lawsuit now filed in New York, where the corporation has offices, seeks compensatory and punitive damages of at least $150 million.
In the new filing Monday, the first lady’s attorneys argue the report damaged her ability to profit off her high profile.
Melania Trump, the filing states, “had the unique, one-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as an extremely famous and well-known person, as well as a former professional model, brand spokesperson and successful businesswoman, to launch a broad-based commercial brand in multiple product categories, each of which could have garnered multimillion-dollar business relationships for a multi-year term during which Plaintiff is one of the most photographed women in the world.”
Those product categories, it goes on to say, could have included apparel, accessories, jewelry, cosmetics, hair care and fragrance, among others.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.