Twitter appears to be placing temporary usage restrictions on accounts it detects “potentially abusive behaviour” from.
Several users of the micro-blogging site claim to have received a message from the site, telling them that their account has been limited for 12 hours.
The penalty cuts the reach of the user’s updates, making them visible to their followers only, and not the wider Twitter community.
Twitter’s user guidelines identify violent threats, harassment, hateful conduct, multiple account abuse, impersonation and the publishing of other people’s private information as activities that could warrant suspension.
“We believe in freedom of expression and in speaking truth to power, but that means little as an underlying philosophy if voices are silenced because people are afraid to speak up,” it says.
“In order to ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse, including behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another user’s voice.”
Twitter will consider an account's behaviour, rather than the language used in tweets, to determine whether or not they warrant a ban.
"We're approaching safety with a sense of urgency," said a Twitter spokesperson. "As such, we will be rolling out a number of product changes in the coming days and weeks – some will be immediately visible, while others will be more targeted to specific scenarios. We will update you along the way and continue to test, learn and iterate on these changes to evaluate their effectiveness."
The site has long attracted criticism for a perceived inadequate approach to the issue of trolls, and recently announced plans to hide more sensitive content as part of its latest safety push.
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