Twitter’s Latest Anti-Troll Measure Is Perfectly Timed
There’s something about the internet that can bring out the absolute worst in people.
In their typical fashion, some Twitter trolls spewed homophobic and Islamophobic sentiments following Sunday’s mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, Florida. The suspect in the massacre reportedly pledged allegiance to the self-described Islamic State group during the attack.
So Twitter’s announcement on Monday that users can more comprehensively block each other came at a great time.
It used to be that someone you had blocked on Twitter could see still your content if it was quoted in tweets or retweets, a spokeswoman for the company said.
“Now, when you block someone you’ll be able to prevent them from contacting you or seeing your Tweets in any form when logged in,” she told The Huffington Post.
Someone you’ve blocked will no longer be able to follow you or send you a direct message. Their tweets won’t appear on your timeline, and you won’t get a notification if they mention you.
Twitter said the launch of the improved block feature was not in response to any particular event or cultural threat.
The caveat to this improved functionality is that the onus to fight trolls still falls almost entirely on the subject of abuse. Because tweets post instantly without any screening, users still have to have a negative experience before they can block their harassers.
Still, the updated blocking function is a step in the right direction, considering that 40 percent of all internet users say they have experienced harassment online. “Mean tweets“ have even become a cultural phenomenon.
And if blocking malicious accounts is easier than ever before, perhaps people will be able to express their views when they matter most.