The fatigued and much abused Twitter faithful are taking with a grain of salt Monday's announcement from CEO Jack Dorsey that the company is "taking a completely new approach to abuse" and that updates to the platform could be happening very soon. The announcement came, of course, via tweet, and came alongside a series of tweets from Twitter's VP of engineering Ed Ho, as shown below.
We're taking a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter. Including having a more open & real-time dialogue about it every step of the way https://t.co/a1SV7URPEK— jack (@jack) January 31, 2017
We heard you, we didn't move fast enough last year; now we're thinking about progress in days and hours not weeks and months.— Ed Ho (@mrdonut) January 31, 2017
We’ll be rolling out a number of product changes in the days ahead. Some changes will be visible and some will be less so.— Ed Ho (@mrdonut) January 31, 2017
This week, we'll tackle long overdue fixes to mute/block and stopping repeat offenders from creating new accounts.— Ed Ho (@mrdonut) January 31, 2017
As Consumerist puts it, "Twitter’s been saying for years that it needs to improve its tools for mitigating abuse and harassment, and for years users have been finding each new option insufficient at best." Will this set of fixes be any different?
Hopefully, given that Twitter's future likely depends on it. The company failed to attract a buyer after its board announced it might be interested in selling itself last fall, largely because likely suitors like Disney and Salesforce felt disinclined to assume Twitter's brand association with hateful, racist trolls not to mention professional ignorant blowhard Donald Trump. And a number of high-profile cases of abuse and attacks by virtual hate mobs haven't helped either.
Twitter unveiled a new "mute" tool in November that allowed users to mute messages based on certain keywords, however that has not proven to be enough of a fix. Updates to mute/block functions and tools to prevent repeat offenders from starting new accounts are priority number one this week, according to Ho.
Obviously I'll believe it when I see it, and maybe this is still a case of too little too late?
Is someone who's been the victim of repeated threats and abuse on Twitter, who was unable to get the company to do anything about it two or three years ago really going to return because of a few new updates?
At long last, anyway, they are "listening."
As we we roll out these changes, and other features that are new, we’ll keep you updated. We want your feedback and we are listening.— Ed Ho (@mrdonut) January 31, 2017
Previously: Trump May Be Helping Kill Twitter's Brand