The Internet is undoubtedly one of the most pivotal innovations of the 21st century. It has changed so much about every aspect of human lives and its impact is probably most evident in how people communicate. Nowadays, communication and the spread of ideas is not just quick, it’s instantaneous, particularly when we’re using social media platforms like Twitter.
Despite all the benefits acquired from the Internet and social media, you can’t avoid the fact that it also has its downsides. For example, it has made it easier for people to spread hatred and discrimination. While platforms like Facebook have stringent security measures, requiring people to use their real names and so on, this can’t be said for all social networks. This problem is best highlighted on Twitter where people can use aliases, hide under the blanket of anonymity, and flame other people they don’t know just for the heck of it.
Thankfully Twitter has been aware of this issue and has since launched a security measure that can safeguard its users from abusive tweets. Previously users had to report abuse or block users manually. Obviously this system is problematic. It burdens the users with the additional work of having to gatekeep their own accounts against offensive tweets. With the new update users just have to flip a switch and all abusive content would be filtered. At this point this security function is only available on iOS and only for verified users, which they argue to be the group most affected by abuse.
While this update raises questions on censorship, the subjectivity of the term “abuse”, and the perceived favoring of verified users over unverified ones, this is definitely an interesting statement Twitter has made against the harassment issues prevalent in their site. It is a step towards a friendlier, hate-free online environment.