Twitter's Now Serving Warnings on Certain Profiles in Latest Anti-Abuse Measure
Earlier this year, Twitter promised to take more action on trolls and abuse, and they've certainly backed up that commitment, rolling out a range of new privacy and security measures including safer search results, minimizing the visibility of 'lower quality' tweets, implementing temporary restrictions on offending accounts and providing more user control over the types of tweets they see.
In isolation, each of these measures is relatively small, but cumulatively, you can start to see how Twitter is actively improving the user experience - or, at least, providing more tools to address the various concerns and make the platform more welcoming.
Twitter's latest measure on this front blocks entire profiles from view, with a warning that the content tweeted from the account could be offensive.
Image via Mashable
The user can easily click the 'Yes, view profile' option and move on, but it does give them a moment of pause, a chance to avoid being exposed to potentially offensive content, if they so wish.
It's another small measure which adds to your personal options, though the actual process itself does raise some questions.
According to Mashable, users are not notified when their accounts are flagged this way, and there doesn't appear to be any specific guidelines on why an account has been gated.
Twitter's told TechCrunch that the feature - which is currently in test mode - works similarly to how other sensitive content is flagged, based on their existing guidelines and user reports/personal settings, but there doesn't appear to be any specific listing of possible violations, or explanations provided to users when the tool is enacted.
Of course, this is only the early testing phase, they'll likely look to make changes the process if it ever gets a full roll out, but it could become a larger concern for brands if they start getting their accounts blocked or gated based on these guidelines. Businesses obviously want to reach as many people as possible, and tools like this could limit that. As such, Twitter will be called upon to provide more detailed explanations on such moves - but again, that's only if the test proves valuable and they look to implement it across the platform.
Right now, it looks like the tool will have limited value, and it may get dropped entirely, but it's worth noting that this process is in place - at least in some form - and there could be extended impacts.
Overall though, it's great to see Twitter making moves on this front. Twitter has often been criticized for their inaction, with the platform's lack of innovation seen as a major reason as to why they've flailed as other, faster moving apps, have advanced with user behaviors and have seen increased take-up as a result. The downside of moving faster, of course, is that sometimes you might mis-step (or 'break things' as Facebook would say), as Twitter has already done with their anti-abuse measures - they rolled out and reversed a change to Twitter lists within a couple of hours.
But really, it's much better to see Twitter taking action, even if they then re-assess, than doing nothing at all.
Follow Andrew Hutchinson on Twitter