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Twitter is making it easier to report, block harassers

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Twitter is working to make it easier to report people harassing others on Twitter, Shreyas Doshi, the services director of product management and user safety wrote today on the site's official blog.

"Everything that happens in the world, happens on Twitter — to the tune of more than 500 million Tweets every day," Doshi wrote. "That can sometimes include content that violates our rules around harassment and abuse and we want to make it easier to report such content. So, we're improving the reporting process to make it much more mobile-friendly, require less initial information, and, overall, make it simpler to flag Tweets and accounts for review."

The announcement comes the day after the U.S Supreme Court heard arguments in a case surrounding a man imprisoned for making death threats against his estranged wife via Facebook.

In that case, the Supreme Court has to decide when a comment made online is a "true threat" versus protected First Amendment speech. The decision in the case could not only impact the originating Facebook case, but an upcoming trial for a League of Legends player who is accused of making threats on Facebook about shooting up a school.

It could also lead the way to changes on how other comments on other social media sites are handled legally.

In the Twitter blog post, Doshi writes the changes are part of the company's continuing efforts to "make your Twitter experience safer."

The changes will also make it easier for those observing abuse on Twitter to report an account. Doshi also said the changes will enable the company to respond faster to complaints.

"We've made the first of several behind-the-scenes improvements to the tools and processes that help us review reported Tweets and accounts," he wrote.

The changes have the potential to profoundly impact the seemingly never ending online threats video game critic Anita Sarkeesian faces and perhaps cut down on the recent spike in online harassment against mostly female game developers, including ones like those that drove Brianna Wu from her home.

Other changes coming to Twitter include a new blocked accounts page, which shows the accounts you've blocked. More features and controls will also be added to this page in the coming months, Doshi wrote. Additionally, he wrote, accounts that you've blocked will no longer be able to view your profile.

The updates are available today for a small group of users, with the updates rolling out to everyone else in the coming weeks.

"We are nowhere near being done making changes in this area," Doshi wrote. "In the coming months, you can expect to see additional user controls, further improvements to reporting and new enforcement procedures for abusive accounts. We'll continue to work hard on these changes in order to improve the experience of people who encounter abuse on Twitter."

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