Thursday, August 1, 2013

Public campaign forces Twitter to add a Report Abuse Button

Finally, Twitter has announced that it would insert a Report Abuse button for every tweet just like Facebook does for every post.  Caroline Criado-Perez successful campaign to replace Charles Darwin's image with Jane Austen's on a British banknote resulted in a barrage of Twitter replies full of hate, rape and death threats.
Realizing that the abuse reporting mechanism in Twitter was not effective to stem the harassment, she raised an online petition currently signed by over 1,00,000 users to pressure twitter into modifying its abuse mechanism.

Twitter cited the volume of tweets as the prime reason why its abuse mechanism was not on each tweet. But, it seems to me that it was an attempt to save costs. Putting a report abuse button would vastly increase the manual and automated efforts needed to review these tweets and take appropriate action. Twitter was undoubtedly worried about the possibility of millions of tweets being marked for review. We would be too, for a very different reason if this was the case.
Caroline’s effort is a great example of how citizens who avail free services from social networks can exert pressure to make these sites protect their personal privacy and security. Free services are a misnomer as our fee is paid through the ad revenue they derive.

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