By Elton Gomes
After facing a lot of flak for being unable to contain potentially harmful content, social media companies seem to be taking steps in the right direction.
Twitter is introducing a change in its policy to deal with offensive or abusive tweets that violate its code of conduct. With this change, Twitter users will not be able to simply delete offensive/abusive tweets. Twitter will instead highlight the tweets that have been forcibly removed after being reported by users.
Twitter’s move is the latest in a long line of measures that have been designed to clean up the content that is shared by users on the platform.
What is Twitter planning to do?
Explaining Twitter’s new content policy, its product manager Sam Toizer said, “When we determine that a Tweet violates the Twitter Rules, we require the violator to delete it before they can Tweet again. Now, once we’ve required a Tweet to be deleted, we will display a notice stating that the Tweet is unavailable because it violated the Twitter Rules along with a link to the Rules and an article that provides more detail on how we enforce our rules,” Gadgets Now reported.
In addition, Twitter will bar an individual from tweeting further unless the person takes action on a reported tweet and deletes it. Moreover, a message will be displayed for 14 days after the tweet has been deleted. This message will indicate to followers that an offensive tweet was posted and that it was successfully reported. This will be visible on Twitter.com, the user’s profile, and any third party apps that may be used to access Twitter.
Twitter enforces new policies on hateful conduct
In 2017, Twitter said that it would begin enforcing new rules to tackle abuse and hateful conduct, including threats of violence and physical harm. The new rules expanded policies to include abusive or threatening content in usernames and profiles, and to accounts affiliated with hate groups both on and off Twitter.
Under Twitter’s policies, specific threats of violence, death, or disease to an individual or a group of people was already considered a violation. The new rules reportedly applied to accounts including those that are linked with organizations that “use or promote violence against civilians to further their causes.”
Facebook’s new content moderation guidelines
Facebook also expanded its set of content moderation guidelines. Its guidelines now include areas such as bullying, violent threats, self-harm, and nudity, among many other topics. The guidelines apply to every country in which Facebook operates, and have been translated into more than 40 languages. Facebook said it developed the guidelines in conjunction with a “couple hundred” of experts and advocacy groups representing the entire world.
“The vast majority of people who come to Facebook come for very good reasons. But we know there will always be people who will try to post abusive content or engage in abusive behavior. This is our way of saying these things are not tolerated. Report them to us, and we’ll remove them,” said Monika Bickert, head of global policy management at Facebook, the Verge reported.
Bickert added that as the guidelines evolved, they will be simultaneously updated in other languages.
Instagram announces transparency tools
Facebook-owned Instagram, in August, introduced three new features to increase transparency. The photo-sharing app’s “About This Account” feature allowed users to acquire more information while evaluating the legitimacy of an account.
Instagram’s second feature offered accounts a path toward verification on the platform. Users can request for a blue verified badge, which indicates that a profile has been verified. A blue badge can be requested by tapping the menu icon, choosing Settings, and “Request Verification.”
As its third feature, Instagram added support for third-party authenticator apps like Google Authenticator and DUO Mobile, which will provide more robust methods of two-factor authentication.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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