Meanwhile, here’s a short summary of how four of big platforms are taking steps to stamp out abuse.
Twitter mute function
If you’re always being bombarded by notifications, you can now use Twitter’s mute feature to opt out of seeing specific conversations and filter out words or phrases.
Not only is this useful for users who often get caught up in irrelevant threads, but it’s also part of Twitter’s wider push to take harassment seriously.
Alongside the muting options, Twitter has also improved the options for reporting hate on the platform, allowing bystanders to also report instances of abuse as well as the victim. Twitter has also introduced further internal training to help employees effectively deal with the problem.
With two potential buyers, Disney and SalesForce, both allegedly backing out due to Twitter’s ongoing abuse issue – the update has been a long time coming.
Want to stop getting notifications for Tweets that contain certain words, usernames, or hashtags? We’re giving you that control. pic.twitter.com/awoNHUYbTG
— Safety (@safety) November 15, 2016
Tinder gender options
Last year, Tinder came under fire for allegedly discriminating against Transgender people, after many had their accounts wrongly suspended.
Since then, the platform has taken steps to combat this notion, launching its #AllTypesAllSwipes campaign and introducing new gender options.
While users could only previously choose between male or female, there are now 37 different gender types in the app, including gender nonconforming, pangender and androgynous.
Users can also choose to describe their gender in their own words, as well as decide whether or not to display it in their bio.
With Tinder also recently launching on Apple TV (along with a very family-orientated video ad) – it’s clear that the dating app is keen to widen its user-base and become more inclusive to all.
Instagram comment options
Justin Bieber famously shut down his Instagram account earlier this year following the abuse of his new girlfriend, Sofia Ritchie.
It’s just one example of trolling getting out of hand on Instagram, which the brand has recently attempted to bring under control with the introduction of three new features.
Now, all users can turn off comments on individual posts, remove followers on private accounts, and show support for comments.
The option to disable comments has obvious benefits, however the new ‘like’ feature is one of the most interesting developments. It is the same function that you can use on Facebook, allowing anyone like a comment (which then shows up in the form of a heart symbol).
Essentially, it is designed to spread positivity, with the idea being that users will feel more inclined to leave kind and supportive comments – especially if there is a chance that the person who posted the photo – perhaps a celebrity or influencer – will also show their appreciation.
Reddit filtering tool
The CEO of Reddit, Steve Huffman, recently admitted to altering comments that criticised his decision to ban the ‘Pizzagate’ subreddit thread.
Huffman edited the comments, replacing his own handle with the names of moderators of a pro-Donald Trump subreddit called “r/the_donald.
Naturally, the controversy has led to even more criticism, especially as Reddit is known for being a space for “authentic” conversation.
However, Huffman has since apologised, saying “I understand what I did has greater implications than my relationship with one community, and it is fair to raise the question of whether this erodes trust in Reddit”.
Meanwhile, Reddit has also decided to take a more proactive approach to policing negative behaviour, introducing a new feature that allows users to filter out subreddits from their personal r/all page.
So far, the action can only be done on the desktop version of Reddit, however it is due to be rolled out across all channels at a later date.
With Huffman’s own actions being an attempt to ‘troll the trolls’, it is clear that the platform’s abuse issue has been getting out of hand of late, undoubtedly fuelled by political events this year.
However, now taking a firmer stance on ‘toxic users’, it’s more evidence of online platforms cracking down on the problem as we head into 2017.
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