September 2, 2021
-The Epoch Times
Twitter on Sept. 1 announced it is rolling out a new “Safety Mode” feature aimed at helping users deal with unwelcome interactions, such as harmful posts and unwanted replies and mentions.
In a statement, the company said the new feature is aimed at “reducing disruptive interactions” and will be rolled out to a small feedback group on iOS, Android, and Twitter.com, beginning with accounts that have English-language settings enabled.
The new feature temporarily blocks accounts for seven days for using potentially harmful language, including insults or hateful remarks, or for sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions.
When the author of such a post is auto-blocked, they will temporarily be unable to follow the account or send it tweets or direct messages.
“When the feature is turned on in your settings, our systems will assess the likelihood of a negative engagement by considering both the Tweet’s content and the relationship between the Tweet author and replier,” Twitter said in its statement.
“Our technology takes existing relationships into account, so accounts you follow or frequently interact with will not be auto blocked.”
Twitter said it had conducted several listening and feedback sessions with experts in online safety, mental health, and human rights as well as its own Trust and Safety Council while developing the new feature.
“We want you to enjoy healthy conversations, so this test is one way we’re limiting overwhelming and unwelcome interactions that can interrupt those conversations,” the company added.
“Our goal is to better protect the individual on the receiving end of Tweets by reducing the prevalence and visibility of harmful remarks.”
The last time Twitter announced a new set of features to combat hateful and abusive content was in 2017, when it rolled out changes such as implementing safer search results and blocking the creation of new abusive accounts.
The social media site has recently taken steps to prevent a number of high-profile figures from violating the company’s code of conduct, including giving them temporary bans.
Most notably, Twitter permanently suspended former President Donald Trump due to the “risk of further incitement of violence” following posts he made the day of the Jan. 6 Capitol breach.
The company said the decision was made after “close review of recent Tweets from the @realDonaldTrump account and the context around them—specifically how they are being received and interpreted on and off Twitter.”
The former president said he would look into alternative ways to engage with his base online, including potentially building his own online platform.