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Twitter Updates Tools for Blocking, Reporting Cyberabuse

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By Daniel Taylor, Esq. on December 03, 2014 8:11 AM

Social media platform Twitter is updating the tools it provides users to report and block cyberabuse.

The new features will roll out to all Twitter users over the next several weeks, reports Ars Technica. They come amid increasing reports of abusive and threatening behavior online. A recent survey by research firm YouGov found that more than 1 in 4 Americans admitted to engaging in malicious online activity known as "trolling."

How do the new safety measures work, and what prompted Twitter to take action?

Streamlined Reporting Process, New Blocked Accounts Page

In an effort to allow users to more easily report threatening or abusive content, Twitter has simplified the reporting process, particularly on its mobile app. In a post on the company's blog, the company also noted it would allow users to report abusive content that they merely observed, but didn't receive directly. In the past, Twitter had required that the harassment be reported by the person being harassed before it would take action, reports Ars Technica.

Twitter has also added a new "Blocked Accounts" page to its Settings menu, allowing users to review accounts they have previously blocked in a central location. Owners of blocked accounts will also now be prevented from viewing the profiles of users who have blocked them.

Preventing Cyberabuse

Twitter's increased safety measures come in response to user complaints about threats and harassment. For example, following the death of comedian Robin Williams by suicide earlier this year, his daughter Zelda posted that she was deleting Twitter from her devices because of harassing messages sent by Internet trolls.

Trolling is generally not considered a crime, although some states, such as Arizona, are working on laws aimed at outlawing online harassment. In the meantime, however, Twitter says it plans on continuing to beef up its security features to help users avoid becoming victims of cyberabuse.

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