Twitter buries abusive Tweets and takes steps to prevent banned users from rejoining

Twitter wants the service to be a pluralistic environment, with a variety of ideas and views. However, Twitter intends to draw a line when abusive tweets stifle free expression. Towards this end, Twitter has announced three new changes. The creation of accounts meant only for harassment will be blocked, the search results are safer, and low quality content will be automatically identified and hidden by default from the timeline.

Twitter is taking steps to identify users who have been permanently banned, and prevent them from creating new accounts. These are repeat offenders, who create accounts specifically for violent and hateful tweets, and especially accounts created just for these purposes will be identified and banned. The measures will be taken against the most prevalent and damaging form of abuse. Twitter has not revealed exactly how it will be tracking users who create new abusive accounts.

Twitter has introduced a new safer search. Potentially sensitive content and tweets will automatically be blocked from search results. The content will still be available on the site, but will not clutter the search results. Tweets from blocked users will also not be shown any more in the search results. Low quality and abusive replies to conversations will automatically be buried in a thread, but can be expanded if the user desires. The changes are expected to be rolled out over the next few weeks.

These are the latest steps in a campaign to tackle abusive users on Twitter. Previously, Twitter allowed users to flag abusive notifications and alerts, allowing users to mute keywords, conversations and users. Twitter recently added the option to report tweets that mention a user, even if the account that tweeted had blocked the user.

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Early last year, then Twitter CEO Dick Costolo had admitted that the micro blogging and social networking platform was not very good at dealing with abusive users. Twitter had previously indicated that it would be introducing features to make Twitter a less hostile environment, and allow users to flag violent and hateful content. Twitter is trying to strike a balance between maintaining free speech, but prevent harassment of users at the same time.