Twitter's Created a New Anti-Troll Squad to Iron Out Online Bullying

By Aatif Sulleyman on at

The Internet has a big, long-standing problem with trolls, and Twitter, as a platform that invites opinions and debate from people all over the globe, is finding it particularly hard to ensure people play fair. With today being Safer Internet Day, the micro-blogging site has announced the formation of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council, a sort of neighbourhood watch for cyberspace.

Twitter says the new group of 40 companies, including safety advocates, academics and researchers, will work to ensure that people feel safe expressing themselves online. How exactly they'll tackle trolls is unclear -- repeatedly spamming bullies with "I know you are, I'm sure you are, but what am I?" may work, but probably counts as trolling itself -- but they’ll focus on creating 'greater compassion and empathy' on the Internet, and preventing abuse, harassment, and bullying, which tragically sometimes leads to suicide.

“To ensure people can continue to express themselves freely and safely on Twitter, we must provide more tools and policies,” the company announced this morning. “With hundreds of millions of Tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power. It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320 million users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression.”

Here's the list of participating organisations:

  • Beyond Blue
  • Bravehearts
  • Center for Democracy and Technology
  • Childnet
  • Circle of 6
  • ConnectSafely
  • Crisis Text Line
  • Cyber Civil Rights Initiative
  • Cybersmile Foundation
  • Dacher Keltner, Professor of Psychology and Faculty Director of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center
  • Dangerous Speech Project
  • E-Enfance
  • EU Kids Online
  • European Schoolnet
  • Family Online Safety Institute
  • Feminist Frequency
  • Fundacion para la Libertad de Prensa
  • Hollaback
  • iCanHelp
  • ICT Watch
  • iKeepSafe
  • Insafe
  • Internet Watch Foundation
  • Jugendschutz
  • Love 146
  • Marc Brackett, Director, Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence
  • National Cyber Security Alliance
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
  • National Network to End Domestic Violence
  • NetSafe
  • Pantallas Amigas
  • Project Rockit
  • Reachout
  • Red en Defensa de los Derechos Digitales
  • Red Papaz
  • Safernet
  • Samaritans
  • Southwest Grid for Learning
  • Spunout
  • The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
  • The Anti-Defamation League
  • The Wahid Institute
  • Thorn
  • UK Safer Internet Centre
  • Without My Consent
  • Yakin

The firm last year rolled out a bulk troll-banishing tool that's actually useful, allowing you to share lists of users you’ve blocked with other people getting harassed. The company's still got its work cut out, but we're pleased to be finally seeing signs of progress.