Twitter steps up efforts to stop the trolls but keep freedom of speech

Twitter is taking on its tricky troll problem

Twitter is stepping up its attempts to stop trolling by tightening internal procedures and tripling the number of people available to monitor the situation.

Trolling is a problem for individuals and businesses, many of which are unaware of the available options to deal with it.

The courts have taken a hard line and threatened jail terms for offenders, but the websites that are most often the scene of the abuse do not have much of an effective deterrent.

Twitter has recognised this and general counsel Vijaya Gadde explained the company’s latest position in an opinion piece in The Washington Post.

“We want Twitter to continue to be a place where the expression of diverse viewpoints is encouraged and aired,” she said.

“To do that, we have to keep Twitter safe for the widest possible range of information and opinions to be shared, even when we vehemently disagree with some of them.

“Even when we have recognised that harassment is taking place, our response times have been inexcusably slow and the substance of our responses too meagre.”

Gadde admitted that this is not good enough, explaining that Twitter’s underlying philosophy of freedom of expression means little if the company continues to allow people to be silenced because they are afraid to speak up.

“We need to do a better job of combating abuse without chilling or silencing speech,” she said.

Twitter has already made several changes on the site aimed at tackling abuse, and claims that it now deals with five times as many account problems as before.

Other changes have been made to clarify and strengthen the internal Twitter user safety procedures, and the definition of abuse has been widened to cover implied threats.

Gadde said that the balance may not always seem fair and perfect, but that Twitter is doing its best to ensure the safest environment for its genuine users. She acknowledged that other types of friction may ensue.

“It is not our role to be any sort of arbiter of global speech. We are under no illusion that there is a single solution to ensure this outcome, or that we will never make mistakes,” she explained.

“We know that our efforts to protect the safety of our users and their right to express themselves freely will create tensions that can be difficult to resolve. But those difficulties simply acknowledge the importance of those underlying values.”

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17 April 2015 | 10:12 am – Source: v3.co.uk

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