Twitter to crack down on serial trolls by tracking their phone numbers

Twitter logo blue on grey

Twitter logo blue on grey

Twitter has announced that it is now going to decisively deal with trolls as part of its long term plan. In the past Twitter was ambiguous about its stance regarding trolls, as evidenced by its inaction around Gamergate. Although there were constant threats of assault, death and rape, Twitter frequently failed to act. And when it did, it was often weeks later with no concrete action.

But the general public clearly views trolling as a serious matter which needs to be dealt with. In Sweden, there is even a television show called Trolljägarna (Troll Hunter) which, as the name suggests, tracks down trolls and confronts them.

Twitter will now implement new measures to expand the process for reporting user safety concerns, and also a system that uses phone numbers to prevent those who repeatedly harass others from creating new accounts.

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Getting banned by Twitter for trolling has however been an easily overcome obstacle: simply open another account and troll again, with much more vengeance. Tracking down phone numbers appears to be a better plan although it is unclear how it will deal with serial trolls changing their phone numbers and re-joining Twitter.

To implement this new feature, Twitter will make associating an account with a phone compulsory for those rumoured to be trolling and harassing others.

Twitter is also expanding on its initiative so that anyone can report violent trolling. Users can be reported for, among other things, inciting self-harm, impersonation, and the publishing of private information.

Twitter also claims that it now reviews five times as many user reports as it did previously, and has significantly reduced the average response time.

These changes will begin rolling out today and should reach all users in the coming weeks.



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