Twitter Moves to Stop Cyberbullying

Erik Bernstein cyberbullying 5 Comments

A promising sign, but is it enough?

In late January, Twitter VP of Engineering Ed Ho put out a number of posts addressing the blue bird’s renewed focus on user safety. Though we typically take these types of announcements with a rather large grain of salt, less than one month later Twitter has already put some walk behind its talk.

The first step was creating a Trust and Safety Council consisting of over 40 good Samaritan organizations. This council’s stated goal is to “ensure Twitter is a platform where anyone, anywhere can express themselves safely and confidently.” The council’s task is to provide outside input on safety products, policies, and programs. This is the type of program we firmly believe every social media and review platform should have in place, and likely will eventually either of their own doing or when forced by legislation.

Not stopping there, Twitter also launched a program that puts users whose accounts have been identified as abusive on a little “time out” in mid-February. The bullies aren’t banned from posting, but their posts are limited to being seen by their followers only.

These are excellent first steps, but they aren’t enough.

In my work I speak to a huge number of business owners who have become victims of cyberbullying, many through no wrongdoing of their own. While I will forever support the right to share bad experiences with others, both social media and review sites are being used as bludgeoning tools on the reputations of upstanding people in shocking numbers. We need stronger tools for reporting, stronger tools for removal, and a panic button for any profile or page to let site admins know an attack is occurring. Until those are in place social media will remain the cyberbully’s tool of choice.

Erik Bernstein



Comments 5

  1. Sara Stewart

    Yeah…they don’t do anything. Friends and I have been dealing with a bully since April, we block an account and she just makes a new one and keeps on. She is also stalking a singer and will quickly start attacking anyone whom he notices. He has blocked SEVEN of her accounts, but she just keeps going. It is not easy to report tweets when someone makes them and then either deletes them after you see them or sets their account to private

    1. Post
      Erik Bernstein

      I’m sorry to hear that Sara. Unfortunately as you’ve pointed out there are very few tools for users to protect themselves whether they’re a business or individual. It may take legislators stepping in before we see significant change.

  2. amira

    a huge number of business owners who have become victims of cyberbullying, many through no wrongdoing of their own…

    i just not understand.. the meaning of “no wrong doinh of their own.”

  3. Kate

    Even after reporting twitter claims an account for the sole purpose of bullying me and stalking ISNT AGAINST THEIR RULES.
    It’s ridiculous.. but if you say Alyssa Milano is wrong you’ll be banned

  4. Chanel

    Agree! I’ve reported Twitter accounts for constant harassment hourly, daily, and I get a message saying they DIDNT violate Twitter rules!!!! HOW because they aren’t cursing on them but still calling me names?!!!

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