Skip to main content

Twitter expands team dealing with abuse reports, updates anti-troll tools

twitter makes it easier to report abusive tweets cops fight
Two weeks after Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said the company “sucks” at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform, the microblogging service has issued an update on how it’s going about combating the problem.

In a post announcing the changes, Twitter’s Tina Bhatnagar said the support team focusing on handling abuse reports had recently been tripled in size, enabling the company to respond to issues in a more timely fashion.

Related Videos

Bhatnagar said improvements have also been made to how the Twitter team responds to reports of impersonation accounts, and that it’s increased its focus on so-called ‘bystander reports’ where someone that witnesses abuse on the platform – as opposed to the person who’s the subject of the abuse – brings banned behavior to the attention of Twitter.

A number of new enforcement actions are also being added for use against accounts that violate Twitter’s rules. Although these new actions won’t be noticed by Twitter users who play clean, they provide Twitter staff with new options for acting against accounts that cause trouble.

“These investments in tools and people allow us to handle more reports of abuse with greater efficiency,” Bhatnagar wrote in the post. “So while we review many more reports than ever before, we’ve been able to significantly reduce the average response time to a fraction of what it was, and we see this number continuing to drop.”

She added that these latest changes are part of a “long-term approach” aimed at better protecting those on the platform.

Twitter last beefed up its safety tools in December following complaints from some users that the company wasn’t doing enough to combat abuse.

The contents of an internal email sent to employees by Dick Costolo highlighted how the company is struggling to deal with the issue, with the boss admitting it “sucks at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.”

He went on, “It’s no secret and the rest of the world talks about it every day. We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day.”

Costolo promised to launch a more determined effort to push trolls off the service, or, at the least, to ensure that “when they issue their ridiculous attacks, nobody hears them.”

Editors' Recommendations

Twitterrific shuts down after being blocked by Twitter
The Twitterrific bird.

The maker of Twitterrific, a third-party Twitter app for macOS and iOS that launched in 2007 and came to the iPhone before Twitter itself, has been left with no choice but to close it down.

In a message posted on its website on Thursday, The Iconfactory, Twitterrific's developer, said: "We are sorry to say that the app’s sudden and undignified demise is due to an unannounced and undocumented policy change by an increasingly capricious Twitter -- a Twitter that we no longer recognize as trustworthy nor want to work with any longer.”

Read more
Twitter finally confirms it’s behind outage of third-party Twitter apps
A stylized composite of the Twitter logo.

Twitter has finally confirmed what everyone pretty much already knew -- that it’s behind the outage of popular third-party Twitter clients such as Tweetbot and Twitterrific.

In a message posted on its Twitter Dev account for developers, the company said: “Twitter is enforcing its long-standing API rules. That may result in some apps not working.” But it declined to offer any details about what API rules the developers of the third-party apps have violated.

Read more
Thanks to Tapbots’ Ivory app, I’m finally ready to ditch Twitter for good
Profile displayed in Ivory app

Ever since Elon Musk took ownership of Twitter, it’s been one chaotic new thing after another. You literally cannot go a day (or a few days or even a week) without some stupid new change to the site — whether it’s about checkmarks for verified or Twitter Blue subscriber accounts, how links to other social networks are banned and then reversed, view counts on Tweets, or something else. I can’t keep up with every little thing that has happened since the beginning of November, and it feels like the spotlight is always on the toxicity of the site in general.

New Twitter alternatives have been popping up recently, but it seems that the most popular one continues to be Mastodon. I originally made a Mastodon account back in 2018 when it first launched, but it never clicked with me back then, and I eventually went back to Twitter. With the Musk mess, I tried going back to Mastodon, but again, it didn’t really click with me — until Tweetbot developer, Tapbots, revealed its next project: Ivory.
The significance of Tapbots and Tweetbot

Read more