Twitter has cracked down on abuse (again) by creating a board to advise specifically on issues relating to harassment and online safety when creating new tools and policies. The Trust & Safety Council will comprise advocacy organisations and community groups who will help to educate the company on digital citizenship, dealing with young people, mental health, and suicide prevention.
Patricia Cartes, Head of Global Policy Outreach at Twitter, describes the council as “a new and foundational part of our strategy to ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves on Twitter.” She goes on to say that Twitter is “taking a global and inclusive approach so that we can hear a diversity of voices… We have more than 40 organisations and experts from 13 regions joining as inaugural members of the Council. We are thrilled to work with these organisations to ensure that we are enabling everyone, everywhere to express themselves with confidence on Twitter.”
The list includes Anti-Bullying Pro, the Anti-Defamation League, Centre for Democracy & Technology, Crisis Text Line, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Feminist Frequency, GLAAD, Hollaback, NetSafe, Samaritans, and Mark Brackett, Director of the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence.
But will this new super-team of human rights groups be enough to make Twitter take a lasting, meaningful stand on bullying and harassment? After all, its record for dealing with trolls is spotty at best.
“Unfortunately, while Twitter has gotten pretty good at talking up what it’s doing to fight abusive behaviour on its platform, it’s not actually that great at enforcing its existing policies,” says The Verge’s James Vincent, “something its own employees can testify to.”
The formation of Twitter’s Trust & Safety Council is encouraging, though, as it indicates a clear intent to take the emotional and psychological wellbeing of its users into account from the very beginning when rolling out changes to the platform.