Twitter plans to expand its report abuse feature, and a wider swath of users will be able to report abusive behavior that could lead to a suspension of accounts.
Beyond Reporting Spammers
Twitter clients like Hootsuite and Tweetdeck (now owned by Twitter) have long had the ability to report tweets for spam, and Twitter does have a way report abuse via its support website. However, there has been an ongoing campaign on Change.org to get the company to offer the feature on its own Web and mobile products, and it now appears to be doing so.
Twitter has 400 million tweets per day going through its system, so there's now way to monitor them all, Del Harvey, Twitter's senior director for trust and safety wrote in a blog post. The company recently enabled a Report Tweet feature on its iOS apps, and it's coming soon to Android devices and Twitter's own web page, Harvey noted.
Disagree? That's Abusive
Here's the thing with reporting abuse. How do you report the abusers of reporting abuse? People will soon enough start reporting abuse for simply disagreeing, and when that happens, Twitter will be forced to either ignore it or actually mediate the issue.
If twitter can't monitor all of its tweets, as Harvey wrote in a blog post, how will it be able to handle this? Of course, there won't be 400 report abuse cases, but if the company already uses computers and humans to handle abuse issues, how many more will be needed to handle this extra layer?
When someone is reported for spam using current tools in Hootsuite, for example, that user is blocked from the timeline, but it takes multiple spam reports for Twitter to actually impose a penalty. Twitter likely puts an arbitrary limit on the number of spam reports it takes to trigger a closer look, and then investigates further from there. It also has plenty of rules to go by in its content boundaries such as not aggressively following and unfollowing people or only posting links.
Those could both be spam, but ultimately, Twitter gets to decide who invokes the ban hammer and who gets to skate by. We're not suggesting Twitter won't be able to pull off a report abuse button, but it has to know this is its first step toward addressing this issue. It can't simply add a report abuse button, and wipe its hands and say problem solved.