Twitter has revised and simplified its rules and process for reporting abusive behavior on the service, and users now have the ability to report people who are posting their personal information.
The change essentially gives Twitter users a method to combat doxing, which is the process of dumping a victim’s personal information online. This often is done as a form of revenge or to embarrass someone. Doxing used to be done in forums or on underground sites, but Twitter has made it possible to broadcast the information to a much larger audience more quickly.
Twitter officials are well aware of this problem, as well as the issue of more traditional abusive behavior on the service. So the company has changed the way that users can report such behavior and what kind of things they can report. Twitter said it has greatly increased the size of its staff handling these reports and is processing many more reports than just a few months ago.
“Over the last six months, in addition to the product changes, we have overhauled how we review user reports about abuse. As an example, allowing bystanders to report abuse – which can now be done for reports of private information and impersonation as well – involved not only an update to our in-product reporting process, but significant changes to our tools, processes and staffing behind the scenes. Overall, we now review five times as many user reports as we did previously, and we have tripled the size of the support team focused on handling abuse reports,” Tina Bhatnagar, vice president of user services at Twitter said in a blog post.
The change is a significant one for Twitter, as the service has evolved into the place where many people not only get their news, but also where people share remarkable personal and private information. The new reporting option also allows users to report abusive behavior that’s targeted at other people and not themselves. Twitter also is changing the way that is enforces the rules against problematic accounts.
“We are also beginning to add several new enforcement actions for use against accounts that violate our rules. These new actions will not be visible to the vast majority of rule-abiding Twitter users – but they give us new options for acting against the accounts that don’t follow the rules and serve to discourage behavior that goes against our policies,” Bhatnagar said.