As Twitter continues its efforts to crack down on trolls, abuse and bots, the platform has this week updated its tweet reporting options, which will now enable users to provide more details on the nature of the specific issue at hand.
Activity that attempts to manipulate or disrupt Twitter’s service is not allowed. We remove this when we see it.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) October 31, 2018
You can now specify what type of spam you're seeing when you report, including fake accounts. pic.twitter.com/GN9NKw2Qyn
As you can see in the example above, there are now more options to specify your report, with 'The account tweeting is fake' at the top of the list.
You can also report tweets with malicious links, those misusing hashtags to tap into trends (particularly annoying), or those using the Reply function to send spam.
TechCrunch explains the issue with the last option:
"Often, high-profile Twitter users will see replies to their tweets promoting the spammers’ content - for example, check any of @elonmusk’s thread for crypto scammers’ tweets."
The expanded, more specific reporting options are the latest in Twitter's push to clean-up its platform. Twitter has long been criticized for its perceived inaction on this front, but over the last year, it has been making progress.
For context, within the past 12 months, Twitter has:
- Implemented new rules to reduce hateful and abusive content
- Implemented reach restrictions on tweets which "distort and detract from the public conversation"
- Added new identification requirements when signing up for an account, limiting the capacity for people to just create new ones when banned
- Paused profile verification to ensure it's not seen to be endorsing questionable users
- Implemented new API restrictions to limit the capacity for spammers to flood the network
- Upped its account removals and suspensions activity - Twitter's now removing 214% more accounts for violating its policies on a year-over-year basis
- Acquired webspam experts Smyte to improve its detection efforts
While you could justifiably argue that Twitter had not been pushing to address such concerns before, it's clear that they are taking action now.
This latest update is another step towards detecting and eliminating such behavior. Twitter still has a long way to go (according to research from FactCheck.me, around 60% of the Twitter conversation relating to the caravan of Central American migrants making their way towards the US border is currently being driven by bots), but Twitter is clearly making a concerted effort to improve.
And that could deliver significant benefits - for both marketers and regular users - in future.