Twitter’s New Plans to Restrict Online Trolling

Twitter has announced plans to restrict online trolling. This could prove an effective reputation management tool, however you need to combine it with the safe use of social media, if you want to protect your reputation online.

The rise of online trolling

Social media is a fantastic way to build your reputation online. Not only does it allow high profile individuals such as executives to reach out to followers and establish themselves as thought leaders in their field, but social media profiles also rank highly on searches performed on Google for an individual’s name.

However there’s one issue that can turn social media into a potential problem – online trolling. This is where users post offensive or unwanted comments on somebody’s social media profile.

Online trolling is becoming an increasingly common activity online. A YouGov poll from late 2014 showed that 28% of people in America have admitted to engaging in “malicious online activity directed at somebody they didn’t know.”

Trolling on Twitter

The BBC reported that online trolling has become a particular problem for Twitter. The social media site has had to deal with a number of high profile online trolling cases that have led to legal action.

Take the case Caroline Criado-Perez. She spearheaded a successful campaign to have a woman featured on UK banknotes. She was beleaguered by abuse and threats of rape on Twitter for her troubles. She had to wade through the abusive tweets to find evidence for the police, an experience which she said was “appalling.”

Twitter to lock abusive trolls out of their accounts

On its blog, Twitter announced that they’re introducing an additional enforcement measure that will allow members of the company’s support team to lock abusive accounts for a certain amount of time.

The site wrote that “this option gives us leverage in a variety of contexts, particularly where multiple users begin harassing a particular person or group of people.” Trolls may be asked to delete their offensive comments before they’re allowed back into their account

Twitter introduce more measures to tackle online trolling

The social network has also announced other measures to tackle online trolling. Twitter is said to be re-writing its violent threats policy. At the moment, the policy only includes “direct and specific” threats of violence; however it is likely soon to include “threats of violence against others or promoting violence against others”. This will make it easier for Twitter to take appropriate action, and protect victims of abusive messages on the site.

Furthermore, a filter announced last month is programmed to “remove all tweets from your notifications timeline that contain threats, offensive or abuse language, duplicate content, or are sent from suspicious accounts”  for verified users. And, more recently, Twitter added a new filter to stop abusive messages reaching recently created accounts, and screen language previously deemed harmful.

Twitter privacy settings

These limits should curtail trolling activity. However they won’t stop it. Online trolling still poses a threat to everyone’s online reputation and you must take steps to safeguard your social media profile.

Utilise Twitter’s privacy settings to ensure your tweets are only be seen by your approved followers. This will shield your account from the sight of online trolls. Click here to learn how to protect your Tweets. Facebook and other social media sites also have similar privacy settings that you can use to safeguard your profiles.

Safe use of social media tips

Ensure your social media profiles are both ‘safe’ and promoted sensibly. There are a series of general measures you can take to safeguard your social media accounts from online trolls:

  • Think before you post: Take a step back and read your post through before you put it live. This simple step can help you catch something in your post that may attract negative attention if it were released into the public domain.
  • Manage your friends: If you accept a friendship request from someone you don’t know, you could give an online troll access to your profile. Only accept requests from people you trust.
  • Keep personal information personal: Keep sensitive information that could damage your online reputation to yourself.
  • Use strong passwords: Protect your account by using strong passwords, or a password generation service.

Twitter’s new measures will help safeguard your profile from online trolls, however it is important to be vigilant and implement best practice methods of protecting your online reputation. For more information please contact me on tel: +44 (0) 203 542 8689 or email in confidence.

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