Twitter is all set to roll out a new security feature called ‘Safety Mode’ that blocks all accounts sending hurtful remarks, insulting, and using unpleasant language for 7 days.
According to the company, the feature will only be accessible to a small group of English-language users on Twitter.com, iOS, and Android.
Jarrod Doherty, the senior product manager of Twitter, said that users would only be blocked if they are seen sending repetitive hurtful mentions and replies. He further declared:
“When the feature is turned on in your Settings, our systems will assess the likelihood of a negative engagement by considering both the Tweet’s content and the relationship between the Tweet author and replier,”
Doherty explained how the new Safety Mode would work by saying that Twitter takes existing relationships into consideration, and therefore the Twitter accounts you follow and interact with wouldn’t be auto blocked. However, any Twitter account found to be uninvited or harmful would be auto-blocked by the technology. These accounts would then be unable to check out your tweets, follow your account, and send Direct Messages.
Introducing Safety Mode. A new way to limit unwelcome interactions on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/xa5Ot2TVhF
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) September 1, 2021
He further continued that the creation of Safety Mode and other security features were prompted due to the unwelcoming comments that got between various conversations that Twitter wanted its users to continue indulging in.
Users can know more about the accounts and Tweets that were blocked by the Safety Mode and are bound to receive a prior notification when the ban period is about to reach its conclusion. Another thing, Twitter will also send over a recap of the scenario before the ban period ends.
“We won’t always get this right and may make mistakes, so Safety Mode autoblocks can be seen and undone at any time in your Settings. We’ll also regularly monitor the accuracy of our Safety Mode systems to make improvements to our detection capabilities,”
Doherty added that Twitter wants its users to have healthy conversations, so the feature would be one effective way to limit unwelcoming interactions that interrupt the conversations. The company’s goal is to protect its users from the visibility of these hateful remarks.
A Trust and Safety Council was created by Twitter that, according to them, persuaded for a few changes in the Safety Mode to reduce the likelihood of manipulation. The council also requested certain accounts to become a part of the first group of users to access the Safety Mode. A special emphasis has been put to offer the tool to female journalists and people in marginalized communities. Harassment and abuse over the internet are huge concerns across the world, especially for women.
According to Article 19, Twitter’s Safety Mode is yet another step in the right direction that will make the site a safe space to participate in public discussions without the fear of being abused.
Doherty notified that Twitter has been participating in multiple discussions on how women can use certain tools like the Safety Mode and actually customize their Twitter experience. Twitter will observe how its tool is being used and make adjustments according to its observations when rolling it out to a larger user base.
In recent years, the site has undergone quite a few changes to eliminate disinformation and misuse that has caused outrages over the years. Twitter also conducted a test in August that allowed users residing in the United States, South Korea, and Australia to report all misleading tweets, which became quite prominent in Covid-19 and subsequent vaccine rollouts.
Twitter has worked with various human rights and mental health organizations to receive legitimate feedbacks about their platform and the changes it requires to protect users from sexism, discrimination, racism, and many other issues going out of hand on the site.
Twitter’s Safety Mode is similar to Apple’s new tool to scan CSAM (child sexual abuse material) online. Social media and tech giants are taking this rampant concern into account and are repeatedly innovating new features to curb these social issues.