“Safety mode” on Twitter should automatically block online hate

The social network Twitter is introducing a safety mode, intended to “limit disruptive interactions”. A limited number of English-speaking users can already test the new service today.

“Feeling safe on Twitter is different for everyone,” the company said in a blog post. “We’re launching settings that can help you feel more comfortable, and we want to do more to ease the burden on people who experience unwelcome interactions.”

The safety mode will block accounts that use “potentially harmful language” for seven days, such as accusations, hateful comments, and “repeated and unsolicited ‘mentions’”. This will happen automatically if the setting is checked. The Twitter systems will assess the likelihood of “negative engagement”.

For the Twitter users in question, a block means “that they will be temporarily unable to follow your account, see your tweets and send you personal messages”.

In the blog post, the company already indicates that this will not always happen correctly. “We can make mistakes, so the automatic blocks can be consulted and undone,” it said.

Like other social networks, Twitter has been under pressure for some time to protect its users from online hate.

Twitter has said it has consulted experts in online safety, mental health, and human rights for its new service. And like other social media, Twitter already allowed its users to report certain posts, but many users have long complained that some hateful or discriminatory accounts can still remain online.

In recent weeks, some users have already been able to test the new functions. Priority was given to female journalists and members of other groups that are often the target of online hatred.

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