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

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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.

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.”

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Trevor Mogg
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