Twitter Temporarily Limiting Reach Of User Accounts Sending Abusive Tweets

Image courtesy of Tom Raftery

If you planned to send out a mean, abusive Tweet, it might not get very far. Just a week after releasing a trio of tools aimed at dealing with abuse and trolls, Twitter is temporarily limiting the reach of certain messages deemed to be abusive. 

Mashable, citing a post on Heat Street, reports that several Twitter users have been notified that some of their account features have been temporarily limited after Tweets were found to be offensive or abusive.

Specifically, for 12 hours Twitter will keep the user’s Tweets from being seen by anyone other than their followers.

That means if John Tweeted a harassing message to Jen, Peter, who doesn’t follow John, won’t be able to see his messages.

According to a notification sent to affected users, Twitter says, “Creating a safer environment for people to freely express themselves is critical to the Twitter community, so if behavior that may violate the Twitter rules is detected, certain account features become limited.”

“We’ve detected some potentially abusive behavior from your account, so only your followers can see your activity on Twitter for the amount of time shown below,” the notification continues.

After the Twitter timeout — which begins once a user clicks “continue to Twitter” on the notification — user accounts are restored to full reach.

A source with knowledge of the tool tells Mashable that Twitter is identifying the offensive messages with keywords and behavior of users.

While it’s unclear when Twitter actually began implementing the new timeout tool, Mashable notes that the company’s support page now features section on account limitations.

“Conversations are core to Twitter, but if we detect behavior that may violate the Twitter Rules or inhibit other people’s ability to express themselves freely, we may temporarily limit certain account features,” the section reads.

Consumerist has reached out to Twitter for more details on the tool. We’ll update this post when we hear back.

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