Twitter expands campaign against hate and abuse

By , on February 9, 2017

(Photo: Esther Vargas/
(Photo: Esther Vargas/

Social media giant Twitter announced Tuesday that it intends to expand its campaign against online hate and abuse.

Previously the site had gained criticism for its passive approach towards addressing the pressing issue of using free speech to propagate hate and abuse amongst the online community.

Twitter confirmed that it had already started identifying and banning certain users for abusive behavior and created a mechanism to stop them from making new accounts. It was also announced that the site will include a “safe-search” feature. This feature would be able to remove tweets with sensitive content including tweets from blocked or muted accounts. However the tweets still exists if users look for them but it will not reflect on the general search results.

It was in July when it permanently suspended Breitbard News editor Milo Yiannopoulus’ account following comments of alleged racism towards Leslie Jones citing that it had violated Twitter’s rules regarding targeted abuse of users.

Following this action, the microblogging site had suspended 36,000 accounts last year  which included accounts of prominent figurehead of the “alt-right” fringe movements that campaign against racism, white nationalism, xenophobia and anti-feminism.

Other internet sites as such, have taken steps to ensure the protection of its users and balancing the use of free speech.

On Wednesday, social news Reddit banned a forum for white supremacists while crowdfunding website GoFundMe removed a campaign for a conservative writer who is seeking funds to conduct his research on an internet conspiracy called “pizzagate”

Far-right news site Breitbart News was also removed from ad serving site, AppNexus in November claiming that the news site had “deployed crude, racial, ethnic, gender and sexual slurs in a way that could incite violence or discrimination against minority groups”, according to a spokesman.
According to Jennifer Grygiel, Assistant Professor of Communications at Syracuse University, Twitter still relies too heavy on its users to root out and report abusive material and suggested the site would have to hire more manpower to secure the site