Twitter Safety Mode will be available to around half of US users

By | February 16, 2022

Twitter Safety Mode is a beta feature that aims to automatically block trolls from appearing in your Twitter feed. Previously in limited testing, the company is now making it available to around half of its users in a number of English-speaking countries…

Twitter Safety Mode

CNET explains that Twitter proactively searches for trolls, and Safety Mode lets you block them from your feed.

The feature, which launched in limited beta in September, imposes a seven-day block on accounts that use what Twitter calls potentially harmful language, including insults, or repeated replies and mentions.

Twitter, which has about 217 million active daily users, has long been under pressure to do more to combat harassment. The social media platform has been criticized for being a “toxic place,” especially for women. A study by Amnesty International and Element AI in 2018 found that female journalists and politicians received “abusive” or “problematic” tweets every 30 seconds on average.

If your account has been included in the beta, and you have not enabled Safety Mode, Twitter will specifically look out for problematic replies to your tweets, and then suggest you switch on the feature.

“Since the initial rollout of the Safety Mode beta in September, we’ve learned that some people want help identifying unwelcome interactions,” Twitter said. “For this reason, our technology will now proactively identify potentially harmful or uninvited replies and prompt people in the beta to consider enabling Safety Mode.”

Twitter came under fire for another feature test recently, making it easier for people to DM users. Many feared that this would increase the number of abusive messages.

9to5Mac’s take

Trolls pose a dilemma for social media companies. On the one hand, they don’t want people to be having unwelcome experiences in their apps. On the other, they make money from eyeballs on ads – and monthly active users is also a key metric watched by investors. This means they view account suspensions and deletions as something of a last resort.

Interim measures like this may help improve the Twitter experience, but it is probably in the long-term interests of social media companies to take more assertive action at an earlier stage, both to protect their reputations and to encourage long-term use of their platforms.

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