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Safety Mode - New Feature on Twitter to prevent trolling and abuse

New Delhi, Fri, 03 Sep 2021 NI Wire

Twitter rolls out its newest feature, “Safety Mode” that temporarily blocks accounts sending harmful or abusive tweets at you. The microblogging platform has made this feature available to a selected feedback group in beta, to accounts on IOS, Android and with English-language settings enabled. It also wishes to further increase its test group, before launching it for all accounts.

Twitter has long been criticised for not being able to effectively deal with the trolling and hate speech on the social media platform. This is the latest move for Twitter, towards that goal, to reduce the users’ burden of unwanted interactions. Twitter had showcased the feature previously in February, but at the time it was not known that the feature would be officially rolled out.

Twitter has other features which were introduced to make the user’s experience on the app safer, which include hiding replies, letting people limit who can reply to their posts, and showing a warning before you tweet a potentially harmful reply. “Safety Mode” is the newest attempt to reduce abuse on the site.

According to the blog post, by Twitter, introducing ‘Safety-Mode’, when a user turns on the feature in their settings, Twitter’s system shall assess the negative impact of a tweet, by seeing both the content of the concerned tweet and the relationship between the “tweet author” and replier. The Twitter system does consider the relationship of two accounts and thus, accounts you follow or frequently interact with, won’t be automatically blocked.
The feature temporarily blocks accounts for seven days for using “potentially harmful language - such as insults or hateful remarks — or sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions.”
Blocking would mean that the Tweets author, making any such remarks deemed harmful by Twitter, will be temporarily not allowed to follow your account, see your tweets, or send you direct messages.

A user can find the information of flagged tweets by the Safety Mode and view information on accounts temporarily blocked at any time. Additionally, before each Safety Mode period ends, the user will receive a notification recapping the information. Although Twitter does regularly monitor their Safety mode systems to improve on their detection capabilities, the app also allows Safety mode autoblocks to be undone at any time by the user, through their settings in case the system makes mistakes.

According to the platform, this new feature is in line with their goals of making Twitter a healthy environment. Overwhelming and unwelcome interactions can interrupt the space for users. This feature becomes another step for the microblogging platform to better protect the individual on the receiving end of Tweets by reducing the prevalence and visibility of harmful remarks.

The feature, which is now available only to a select few users, is being tested and improvements and adjustments on it are being made, before it is made available for everyone on twitter, said the blog post. 

- Supratik Mitra (02/09/21)

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