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Part of Twitter’s appeal is the simplicity of micro-blogging. At a time when blogging was hitting its stride, bloggers appreciated the way Twitter simplified the way it updates followers and users, of course, appreciated the ability to get several updates in the same feed coupled with the freedom to pursue stories at their leisure.
But the simplicity of the platform—and the rate by which messages, or Tweets, are delivered through the web—can be accompanied by a different set of problems. And no problem has been bigger for Twitter users, than abuse.
“With hundreds of millions of tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power,” explains Twitter head of global policy Patricia Cartes.
Indeed, the simplicity that makes the platform so attractive also makes it easier for anonymous users to harass or otherwise abuse other users. Facebook does not have this problem because, at its nature, users have an identity and the community can block abusive profiles, and it is easier to report users who do not follow the rules of the community.
When it comes to Twitter, however, the action is fast and it is easy to create a new handle and to quickly distribute combative words through growing trends. Ironically, the Twitter’s simplicity makes dealing with harassment far more complicated.
Cartes goes on to say, “It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320 million users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression.”
And so, Twitter has formed a Trust and Safety Council to help oversee products and policies on conduct. On Tuesday, the council posted a blog describing how it is made up of at least 40 groups—to include Anti-Bullying Pro, the Family Online Safety Institute, the National Domestic Violence Hotline, and the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, to name a few—who will review Twitter products and policies to ensure that all users are able to speak freely and honestly without fear of harassment.