Twitter has created a new anti-harassment tool for its social media network in order to make it easier for users to report threatening tweets to the police.
Once a user reports the tweet to the police, they are able to receive an email that summarizes the tweet, when it was sent and other information that might be relevant to the police.
"While we take threats of violence seriously and will suspend responsible accounts when appropriate, we strongly recommend contacting your local law enforcement if you're concerned about your physical safety," said Twitter in a blog post. "We hope that providing you with a summary of your report will make that process easier for you."
While the tools will make it easier for users to report tweets, it's still up to the user to report the tweets in the first place. It is unclear if this tool will have any effect on police investigations, and the reports don't really offer users any information that they couldn't find without the help.
The news follows a number of changes to Twitter that are aimed at cracking down on abuse on the social media network. Last month, Twitter said that it would help end abuse by tracking users' phone numbers.
Users, however, are able to get around this by simply starting a new account that is not associated with the phone number that Twitter is tracking. Not only that, but users also have not been required to enter their phone number when starting new accounts in the past.
Twitter has had a serious problem with online abuse ever since it started, an issue that needed to be stopped, according to CEO Dick Costolo in a leaked memo. The social media network has been very reactive to abuse online rather than proactive.
Many, however, suggest that the new move is yet another way for Twitter to avoid having to deal with the issue of online abuse itself. For a long time, many have wanted Twitter to tackle online abuse rather than simply outsourcing the issue to the police or other organizations. For example, Twitter employed the help of Women, Action, & Media (WAM) to help deal with sexism in the wake of the so-called #gamergate "movement." This help was unpaid and was a lot of work.
Despite the fact that many want Twitter to take a bigger stance on online abuse, others suggest that doing so would infringe on free speech on the network, which could cause users to want to leave the network.