On Tuesday, Twitter announced the launch of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council, which is a partnership of over 40 experts and organizations. The initiative will address online harassment but it has also received adverse reaction in the Twitterverse.
Twitter can be used by people to harass, troll and bully others. According to a 2014 Pew Research Center report 40 percent of adult Internet users have faced online harassment and about 73 percent of the Internet users have seen it happen to others.
"Young women, those 18-24, experience certain severe types of harassment at disproportionately high levels: 26% of these young women have been stalked online, and 25 percent were the target of online sexual harassment," said the Pew Research Center report.
Some of the members of the newly formed council are:
The main aim of the organization is to reduce bullying in schools. Anti-Bullying Pro has a number of initiatives and one of them is the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors programme, which has trained over 15,000 young people across the UK for leading anti-bullying campaigns in their schools.
The organization was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of Jewish people. It is currently one of the premier civil rights/human relations agencies in the U.S. and fights anti-Semitism and all forms of bigotry. Anti-defamation also defends democratic ideals and protects civil rights for all.
Childnet International is a registered charity in the UK, which is focused to make Internet a safe and great place for young people and children.
Feminist Frequency is a website, which hosts commentary and videos analyzing portrayals of women in pop culture narratives.
National Cyber Security Alliance
The mission of the organization is to educate users to safely and securely use the Internet at home, school and work.
These organizations may help address harassment and other online threats but some online users feel that the initiative will also limit free speech.
@twitter so glad you hold free speech so dear that we need a nanny to overlook us! Myself happy with the block button.
— barry wyman (@barrywyman2356) February 9, 2016
@twitter what kind of safety do you need on twitter? Apart from block button. keep wasting money, you're doing amazing at destroying stocks — Feng ™ (@Fasdrak) February 9, 2016
Many people would have stopped using Twitter after facing abuse. Twitter's latest initiative is aimed at reducing online abuse but it may also ignite a new debate in the Twitterverse.
It remains to be seen how successful Twitter Trust & Safety Council becomes in stopping online harassment, abuse, trolling and bullying.