Twitter's crackdown on trolls is 10x bigger than a year ago
- Twitter, the micro-blogging service with 328 million users, has expanded its crackdown on abusive accounts with a 10x increase in actions against trolls, according to a blog post by the company. Twitter says it limits account functionality or places suspensions on thousands more abusive accounts each day.
- Accounts that are given limited functionality generate 25% fewer abuse reports, and about two-thirds of those are restricted only once. Repeat offenders who create new accounts after being suspended for violations of the company's policy are also being removed from the platform, per the blog post.
- Twitter has also upgraded filters that allow users to personalize the kinds of interactions they're willing to have with other people on the platform by blocking or muting interactions online with users that don't follow each other. Blocks after "@mentions" from people users don't follow are down 40%, the company said.
The anonymity that users have on Twitter, despite the application system for verified accounts, has made the platform a haven for hate speech and annoying internet trolls. That was one reason cited when Twitter had difficulty finding a buyer last year, and has also proved an ongoing problem for brands on the platform who don't want their ads appearing alongside pornography, bigoted remarks and recruiting materials for terrorist groups. The same brand safety issue has recently dogged YouTube as it copes with advertisers who object to having their brands placed among unsavory videos.
Twitter has also faced challenges in growing its user base despite the massive publicity the service gets every time public figures, celebrities and politicians, including President Donald Trump, send out tweets to their millions of followers. In many cases, those audiences aren't all real people, either.
Between 9% and 15% of Twitter accounts are bots, according to a March report from the University of Southern California and Indiana University. That figure was about 20 million more than Twitter estimated in a regulatory filing. The company has said that not all bots are necessarily negative, as some valuable services like weather alerts are run by the tech.
Twitter's latest crackdown on trolls is just another signal that social media channels are serious about providing a transparent platform on which consumers can engage with brands. Because Twitter is limiting or eliminating troll accounts, marketers will likely be able to more accurately measure the effectiveness of their social campaigns and interactions with consumers on the platform.