Twitter tests new process for reporting harmful content

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The social network said Tuesday that Twitter has begun testing an overhaul process for users to report harmful tweets, with the goal of simplifying the process by letting users know what they’re seeing. Huh.

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Instead of requiring users to identify which Twitter rules a tweet violates, Twitter’s new “symptom-first” approach asks users what was wrong with a tweet, asking them to explain Twitter’s rules. The burden was relieved. Twitter compared the new approach to an emergency room situation in which a doctor asks if a patient feels pain, instead of asking if they have broken a leg.

“What’s frustrating and complicated about reporting is that we enforce a Terms of Service violation as defined by the Twitter Rules,” Senior Twitter UX Manager Rena Al-Yasini said in a blog post. “The vast majority of what people are reporting falls within a very large gray spectrum that doesn’t meet the typical criteria for a Twitter breach, but they are still reporting what they are experiencing which is very problematic. And very disturbing.”

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The trial, which will begin with a small group of Twitter users in the US, comes amid persistent criticism that Twitter is not doing enough to reduce the amount of abusive or hateful content on the platform. Twitter said it plans to begin testing for a wider audience in 2022.

By refocusing the reporting process on the first information people can provide, Twitter said it hopes to improve the quality of the reports it receives. Even if a specific tweet doesn’t violate Twitter’s rules, the company said the information it collects can still be used to improve experiences on the platform.

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The move follows an update Twitter announced in its personal information policy in November that Prohibits the sharing of photos and videos of private individuals without their consent, Content may be removed if the site determines that it has been shared “to harass, intimidate, or use fear to silence them.”

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