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Twitter is making big changes to finally take abuse and terrorism seriously

Twitter Abuse Filter

Twitter has been criticised for years for its failure to police the network. From accounts promoting terrorism to out-of-control abuse of users, the site has an awful reputation for controlling the worst parts of the internet.

Today, the site confirmed two big changes that it’s making to combat terrorism and abuse respectively. According to the New York Times, Twitter has been on a crusade against accounts that promoted terrorism, suspending 235,000 terrorist-related accounts in the last six months. The site is also speeding up its review process and making it harder for banned users to get back onto the platform.

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To help deal with abuse, the site is apparently planning to introduce quality filters based on the origins and behaviors of accounts. If it works, it should go some way towards dealing with the infamous abuse of users on the site.

In a statement to the Times, Twitter said “The world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe. We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform.”

In a blog post, Twitter outlined the introduction of a quality filter. “When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior. Turning it on filters lower-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience. It does not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with – and depending on your preferences, you can turn it on or off in your notifications settings.”

You can also turn on an option to only see notifications from accounts you follow.

This is basically the quality filter system that has existed for verified accounts for a long time, but rolled out to all users. It’s probably not a perfect system, but should go a long way towards reducing spam. If a user is being specifically targeted, they’ll be able to turn on the option to only see notifications from users they follow, which should cut out the majority of the abuse.

The only real question here is what took Twitter so long. Abuse has been a well-known problem for a time, and while the new filter will probably reduce Twitter’s user and engagement numbers a little (the filter will kill spam accounts, which will probably drop overall numbers), high-profile abuse cases like Leslie Jones are much more problematic than numbers.