Saturday Star

Tweet abuse – and fast

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what more difficult to obtain than an e-mail address.

Twitter did not elaborate on how it would expand its efforts to crack down on repeat abusers or give an exact timeline of when users will see this feature.

The company also said it is working on altering its search function so tweets containing “potentiall­y sensitive” content – messages that may contain, for example, violence or nudity – won’t show up in a normal search. The altered search function will also ignore messages from people a particular user has blocked or muted.

“While this type of content will be discoverab­le if you want to find it, it won’t clutter search results any longer,” the post said, although it didn’t say when users will see this on their own accounts.

The third change deals with a filter of sorts for conversati­ons. Twitter, by default, will soon show what it has judged as the most relevant replies to a tweet. Others will be hidden behind an expandable bar, labelled “Less Relevant Replies” – messages that Twitter believes may be “potentiall­y abusive” or “low quality”.

The hope is that the most thoughtful and relevant replies will rise to the top. But, if you want to see the spam, abuse or other messages that don’t make the cut for some reason, you’ll still be able to see them by expanding the conversati­on all the way.

The ability to weed out tweets by relevance will roll out in the “coming weeks”, Twitter said.

Twitter has touted itself for years as a network that supports freedom of expression, which can put it in a tricky position when trying to judge what constitute­s abuse. But the social network has responded to criticism that it hasn’t moved quickly enough to fix its abuse problems. Twitter’s vice-president of engineerin­g, Ed Ho, made this clear last month in a series of tweets that included a promise to move faster to deal with these issues.

“We heard you, we didn’t move fast enough last year. Now we’re thinking about progress in days and hours, not weeks and months.”

Ho said they know users want them to do more to combat online abuse and fast. “We’re thinking about progress in days and hours, not weeks and months,” he said.

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