Something extraordinary just happened. You're over the moon, and you rush to Twitter to stir up a conversation. Boom, in a flash, your tweet is hijacked. Now you’re getting bombarded with harassment from trolls, people hiding behind screens, hell-bent on instigating conflict online.
These scenes play out often across social media platforms. Thankfully, platforms are getting on top of this long overbearing issue and Twitter is leading. The company is now testing Safety Mode, a new feature that autoblocks disruptive, harmful, spammy, or abusive tweets. Way to go Twitter! We’re all looking forward to a safe space for clean conversations.
Before Safety Mode we could block accounts, hide replies, and limit who can reply to our tweets. But the dogpiling remained. Like mythical beasts, online trolls just seem to be unstoppable. We hope Safety Mode can change that. When turned on, Twitter’s fresh addition assesses the likelihood of negative engagements. It considers both the Tweet’s content and the relationship between the author and replier before making a decision. Accounts flagged for harmful or uninvited content will be automatically blocked, temporarily. This means they won't be unable to follow the victim's account, see their Tweets, or send them Direct Messages for seven days.
Of course, we can't expect perfection from imperfections (humans). Safety Mode will likely make mistakes and block the wrong accounts. Twitter knows this, and its developers have given users some control. The feature stores information about flagged Tweets and restricted accounts that can be viewed at any time. You can undo blocks on accounts in your setting if they were wrongfully judged.
For now, a small feedback group using iOS and Android devices and Twitter.com whose accounts have English-language settings enabled can use Safety Mode. Twitter will see how the feature works and make necessary improvements and adjustments before making it available widely on the social network.
We know feeling safe on Twitter is different for everyone. For us, Safety Mode makes way for healthy public conversations without fear of abuse. We welcome Twitter’s attempt to help us control our experience on the 280-character platform. It couldn’t have come at a better time than in this pandemic, with its lockdowns and restrictions. With more time on their hands, people welcome the chance to comment on what they wouldn’t dare say in person.