Twitter Beefs Up Its Anti-Troll Tools

December 03, 2014

Twitter announced a couple of changes to the way it lets its users deal with harassment today. The company is making it easier for people to report harassment, even when it’s aimed at someone else, and it’s giving the block feature more power.

The reporting tools for harassment, which have been redesigned for mobile, will now be more streamlined and conversational. It will ask who is being affected (you or someone else) and what the nature of the harassment is—for example if violent threats are being made. If you are reporting harassment yourself, there’s an option to fill in more details. Tick off those steps, and the company will review the complaint and—it says—act on them much faster than it has in the past.

Block has gotten better too. Previously, while blocking a person kept them from following you, they could still head over to your profile page and see all your tweets. Now, if you block someone, as long as they are logged in, they won’t be able to view anything on your profile page. However, opening that page in another, logged-out browser will still let anyone see your public tweets. But Twitter’s A/B testing has apparently shown that when people have to go to another browser (or log out) to see a profile that has blocked them, they are far less likely to continue trying to interact with it.

And because it’s making block a little block-ier, Twitter is also adding a page where you can see everyone you’ve blocked in the past. That will let you make sure you’ve got your troll collection up to date, and also let you move people over to mute, or restore them completely if they’re no longer bothering you.

It’s all pretty good stuff, if a little overdue. Twitter has been dealing with harassment issues since its earliest days, and has come under a lot of fire, especially in the last two years, for not doing more to protect its users. These are small steps, but they’re moving in the right direction at least.