Twitter rolls out new safety updates

Twitter rolls out new safety updates
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Twitter on Wednesday announced its latest effort to beef up safety and curb harassment.

The company said it is using algorithms to detect abusive behavior, giving users new filtering tools and being more transparent in the reporting process.

Twitter's announcement comes amid a larger effort to mitigate harassment and abuse. Twitter has been criticized over the past several years for the proliferation of harassment, which culminated in high-profile users such as actress Leslie Jones temporarily leaving Twitter after enduring significant abuse.

Twitter’s new algorithms, introduced on Wednesday, will work to identify abuse, even if it hasn’t been reported by users. The company will then limit the functionality of offending accounts. Twitter wrote that limits would be enacted “if an account is repeatedly Tweeting without solicitation at non-followers or engaging in patterns of abusive behavior that is in violation of the Twitter Rules.”

The company noted that it would only act when it is “confident, based on our algorithms, that their behavior is abusive.”

Users also will be given the ability to automatically block tweets without a profile photo, unverified email addresses or phone numbers. Twitter added that it is expanding the mute function, which allows users to block individuals, keywords and phrases from their timelines. Users will be able to set how long they want such categories to be muted from their timeline.

Twitter noted that it will increase transparency by letting users know when it had received a report of abuse and when it had decided to take further action.

Twitter last month rolled out a different set of provisions aimed at improving safety. A company spokesperson confirmed to The Hill that Twitter had also quietly introduced a feature that temporarily limits the visibility of users’ accounts who are flagged for abuse.