Twitter understands that if it's going to solve its troll problem, it won't be able to do it alone. The company needs your help, and today it asked for it.
The request came through earlier today, in the form of a new product release, where Twitter said it was giving its users the ability to share lists of blocked users, via export and import, presumably to help them quickly disappear the platform's worst actors.
"This new, advanced feature makes blocking multiple accounts easy, fast and community driven," Twitter said in a blog post. Notably, community driven and not tech driven.
Twitter is working on using algorithms to take on its abuse problem, but its tech appears limited in its ability to curb abuse by itself. The company, for instance, recently introduced a "Quality Filter" to remove threatening, offensive and suspicious tweets from people's notifications tab, but the filter is only available to Twitter's small segment of verified users. Twitter is also testing a feature to limit the reach of "suspected abusive tweets," but two months after telling the world about it, the feature is still in testing mode.
Twitter CEO Dick Costolo recently addressed the company's significant troll problem in a blunt email to his employees. "We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years," he wrote.
The feature's introduction, before the platform-wide rollout of its tech solutions, may be an admission that there's only so much a platform can do from a tech standpoint to prevent real humans from being terrible to people they don't like.
Alex Kantrowitz is a senior technology reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in San Francisco. He reports on social and communications.
Contact Alex Kantrowitz at email@example.com.
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