Dick Costolo, the Twitter CEO, has announced that this year their primary goal would be kicking trolls off the microblogging site. Recently, the company amended its policies for achieving that goal seamlessly. However, a new study conducted by Women Action Media, a group fondly referred to as WAM! has proved how tough the job of eradicating harassment can be.
Last fall, the micro-blogging site appointed WAM! as its authorized reporter. Twitter’s authorized reporters are groups that are authorized to identify and report harassments on others’ behalf. Twitter is expected to prioritize all those reports.
The three weeks of this fall saw WAM! Collecting as many as 811 reports of harassment. Out of them, it reported 161 to Twitter.
Each of those reports was analyzed by the group with the hope of unearthing at least a few of the entities responsible for harassing people on Twitter. WAM! has published a lengthy report revealing all the facts they have come across during the analysis; according to the group, the procedures Twitter adopt to police harassment can be gamed quite easily.
According to this latest report, one of the major problems today is that the micro blogging site needs users to submit a link to the offensive tweet for any investigation to start. The harassers are completely aware of this Twitter policy and thus often delete the offending tweets within a very short span of time after posting them. WAM! Refers to this procedure as “tweet and delete”.
By allowing users to use other ways such as a screenshot of the harassing tweet for proving that they have been victim of Twitter harassment would help the micro blogging platform to catch the perpetrators even after they have deleted the tweets.
The next trend discovered by WAM! is called “dogpiling” Victims of dogpiling are flooded with harassing tweets posted from different accounts. The experts representing the group believes that having the power of reporting multiple accounts together and thereby getting the issues settled simultaneously would help the victims of Twitter dogpiling.
Things have become more complicated for Twitter as WAM! during the analysis, has also come across several cases of “report trolling” and “false flagging”. In other words, there are many Twitter users who make false claims of harassment for making the job tougher for reviewers.
All these observations are very useful for Twitter. Now, we’ll have to wait and watch what exactly the micro blogging site does with these observations of WAM!.