Twitter has made changes in its filtering of toxic users’ tweets. Originally, targets of harassment could block a user and wouldn’t see the first replies to a tweet from that user, but would be able to see the replies to that user’s message.
As The Verge points out, this new approach will not only block out harassers and their supporters, but also supporters of the target of harassment. In short, it’s a heavy-handed, all or nothing solution since the feature can’t decide what’s continued harassment and what’s support unless it’s a user they already follow.
It was last summer that Twitter started to move towards doing something about long running harassment on the platform. First, it started with user verification that would make it so that users would have to give legit verification and a reason why they should be verified to get the blue checkmark. It’s not as big a step as having Twitter be subscription based, but harassers who have been verified would be easier to report if they make threats or go against Twitter’s conduct rules.
Of course, this leaves unverified users mostly unprotected and unverified harassers largely unchecked. That same summer Twitter opened anti-harassment tools to everyone—which was mainly a filter system. This leads us to the update to which tweets get to the target and which are blocked.
Twitter is also using an approach that limits the reach of toxic users’ tweets. While these users will still be able to tweet, the reach will only be among followers. So, the company is taking steps to dealing with harassment on the platform, but they’re still baby steps. With a platform the size of Twitter and as active as it is, the final option would probably end up being a massive team of human filters to pick out tweets and boot toxic users either as the main method or working with the measures Twitter has implemented so far.