Twitter says less abuse on platform due to tougher measures

Social media platform has previously been criticised for failing to deal with trolls

Twitter has said measures it introduced earlier in the year to curb abusive behaviour are paying off with increased action being taken against abusers.

The social media platform, which has come under intense pressure to tackle the spread of abusive content, claimed users are experiencing significantly less abuse than they were six months ago.

Twitter said it was now taking action on ten times the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the number tackled during the same period a year ago.

In addition to deleting some accounts, the company has also moved to limit functionality or place suspensions on thousands of other for violation of terms and conditions.


Twitter said the new systems it had introduced - which includes changes to how users can report abuse tweets and the implementation of safer search results - have had an immediate impact.

It said in the last four months alone, twice the number of repeat offenders had accounts suspended. This it added was leading to a change in user behaviour.

“Accounts that we put into this period of limited functionality generate 25 per cent fewer abuse reports, and approximately 65 per cent of these accounts are in this state just once,” the company said.

As well as introducing new tools, the company has also allocated more staff to reviewing content daily and to better enforce its policies.

“We’ve introduced new ways to customise your experience, including notification filters and muting keywords. Our quality filter has led to fewer unwanted interactions: blocks after @mentions from people you don’t follow are down 40 per cent. These numbers will vary, but the approach is having a positive impact,” it said.

“We have consistent harassment definitions and policies that apply to everyone. However, people define abuse differently, so using these new tools, every person has control of what they see and experience on Twitter,” the company added.

The measures introduced earlier this year come following sustained attacks on some Twitter users. Among them was Leslie Jones, the star of Saturday Night Live and the Ghostbusters reboot, who temporarily left Twitter after experiencing a torrent of racist and misogynistic abuse.

Twitter has consistently been criticised for failing to adequately deal with harassment on the platform with even its former chief executive Dick Costolo quoted as saying the company "sucks" at dealing with bullying.

Salesforce ruled out a bid to acquire the social media platform in part because of its trouble dealing with trolls. Disney is also believed to have rejected a move for Twitter on the same grounds.

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who returned as chief executive in late 2015, admitted in a blog post in April that the company had been slack about tackling abuse but was now firmly focused on dealing with the issue and had a "strong handle" on the situation.

The company has 328 million monthly active users and employs 3,860 people worldwide.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist