After failing to sell itself, Twitter is ready to take its troll problem seriously.
According to BuzzFeed, Twitter is introducing new features to help users shield themselves from online harassment.
On the product end, Twitter has augmented its mute feature to allow users to filter specific phrases, keywords, and hashtags, similar to what’s found on Instagram, which added a keyword filter this September.
This is definitely a step in the right direction, but I have to wonder if it goes far enough.
Twitter has a harassment issue, but it also has an “egg” issue, and I can’t help but think that the two are tied together in some way. It’s great that Twitter has expanded the tools available to its suffering users, but it takes thirty seconds for a troll to create a new account. You can block or mute one jerk, but like a hydra, two more brand new “egg” accounts might pop up in its place.
Scale this to the level of harassment someone in the public eye might receive, and you can see why it might feel impossible to keep up. The ability to block and mute is helpless against a never-ending army of eggs. The ability to mute a conversation thread will help to a degree, but the quote feature will ensure that the conversations spill into new threads. More hydras.
Twitter has to do more, whether its utilizing IP addresses to prevent users from creating account after account, or restricting brand new accounts from @replies for a day or two. The situation is that serious.
I applaud Twitter for trying to address the problem at hand. Unfortunately, the new account loophole still exists. Until Twitter solves that, I’m afraid we’re only going to see more of the same.