Twitter u-turn on new abuse tool

By BBC Technology

Twitter has reversed one of the changes it made to tackle bullying on the platform, just two hours after rolling it out.

The social network said it would no longer notify members who had been added to lists by other users.

But it was hit with a number of complaints from users, saying the change only buried abuse and limited an otherwise useful feature.

Twitter described the change as a “mis-step”.

The social network lets members compile lists of people they follow, such as “friends I’ve met”, “celebrities” or “video gamers”.

Members are notified when they are added to a list, so some people abuse the feature by adding members to mean-spirited lists.

On Monday, Twitter’s safety team tweeted that members would no longer be notified if added to a list.

‘Blinding the vulnerable’

But users pointed out that the change simply buried abuse, and made it harder for members to know if they had been added to an abusive list.

“Critical for people to know if they’ve been added to a list intended for targets. This is blinding the vulnerable,” tweeted SwiftOnSecurity.

“The correct approach is to allow people to remove themselves from lists or do it upon blocking the owner.”

Twitter reversed the decision two hours later, with Ed Ho, the company’s vice president of engineering tweeting: “Reconsidered and reversing.”

The social network has been heavily criticised for the amount of harassment on its platform.

On 7 February it announced a raft of changes to tackle abuse, including hiding tweets judged to be “low quality”.


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