Twitter announced new measures designed to combat online abuse as the company revealed that it will now start hiding abusive tweets from Timelines and search results. Ed Ho, the Vice President of Engineering at Twitter explained that all of the new changes were made with the intention to make Twitter a safer place for all of its users. In a blog post published on Tuesday, Ho reiterated how the San Francisco-based company won't tolerate any kind of online abuse or harassment on its platform and added that more similar changes will be rolled out in the future.
As for what Twitter is changing right now, the firm announced three major additions to its social network as it implemented new ways to protect search results from abuse, hide potentially abusive tweets from Timelines, and prevent abusers from creating new accounts after their old ones have been suspended. Ho didn't reveal many details regarding how Twitter intends to accomplish the latter, but he did say that the company has implemented new methods of preventing the creation of clone accounts by repeated abusers who mostly use the firm's social network to harras other people online. Twitter's executive also explained how the platform is now better at recognizing and hiding potentially abusive and even low-quality tweets. This change should result in higher-quality interactions on Twitter without completely censoring other users as even tweets that are identified as potentially problematic will only be collapsed and not removed. The list of collapsed tweets will be accessible by tapping on the "Show less relevant replies" option located at the bottom of the user interface, as shown in the GIF below. This change won't be implemented immediately but is instead scheduled to gradually roll out in the next few weeks.
While all of this should result in better search results which won't lead to low-quality and abusive content as frequently as they did before, Ho also revealed that Twitter is currently developing a Safe Search feature that will hide certain content in a manner that's similar to the one described above, meaning people who are specifically looking for content Twitter identifies as problematic will still be able to find it. Ho and Twitter's CEO Jack Dorsey already promised to adopt a more transparent approach to handling online abuse in 2017, and this latest announcement can be interpreted as the first step towards fulfilling that promise.