Wow, this is some startling news. As most of us have probably witnessed, Twitter can be a place where anonymous trolls trash people – particularly women, and make threats – particularly rape and death threats.
After a recent bout of intense criticism due to a couple of high-profile cases of such abuse. A woman named Caroline Criado-Perez petitioned the UK government to feature more non-royal women on currency, so the government decided to put author Jane Austen on the £10 note. Moments after the announcement, Ms. Criado-Perez began getting rape and death threats on Twitter, at a rate of over 50 an hour.
Soon another petition was launchedasking Twitter to make a change and reached over 66,000 signatures, according to The Mary Sue.
Twitter pointed out that it’s always possible to report someone on Twitter or block them, but at the rate M. Criado-Perez received the threats, it would be hard to cope tweet by tweet. In addition, a spokesperson for Twitter reminded everyone that you can currently report abuse via the Twitter iOS app (it’s under the “more” button; you tap “report tweet” and it offers a suite of options for reporting that tweet for spam or abuse) – which doesn’t help people that use Twitter on a desktop computer or, of course, the massive numbers that use Android or Windows phones.
Twitter mentioned the report abuse button on its UK blog yesterday.
To the extent that our system is based around the filing of reports with our Trust & Safety team, we strive to make it easier and more practical to file them. Three weeks ago, we rolled out the ability to file reports from an individual Tweet on our iPhone app and the mobile version of our site, and we plan to bring this functionality to Android and desktop web users.
What do you think? Will this new feature help this problem, or become yet another tool of harassment on Twitter as people abuse it?