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Socially - what is being done to fight abuse

In the wake of a social media boycott by English football clubs and players due to online abuse received on a weekly basis, we have taken a look into just what the different platforms have done to combat this type of abuse.

  • Instagram have introduced filters to catch abusive messages sent through direct message.  These filters seek out certain words, phrases and emojis and hides these messages in a separate folder where the user can delete without seeing it
  • A new feature has been included allowing the user, when blocking someone gives you the option to pre-emptively block future accounts that person creates.
  • The filters that search comments for abusive text now not only seeks out those harmful words but also seeks out those words with different spelling variations, whether it is deliberately or accidentally misspelled.

Facebook claims it can detect 88% of hate speech on the platform before it’s even reported.  What else has Facebook done?

  • Committed $10 million in the fight for racial justice
  • Reviewed and updated community policies
  • Facebook also have the option to block new friend requests from people already blocked.

Twitter have caused a bit of a stir in this regard, although they sometimes be quick to ban over hate speech,  they tend to fall short in other areas.  Like Facebook and Instagram, Twitter has its abuse policy and will look for abusive content or content that wishes harm on another person. But then they complicate it:

Some Tweets may seem to be abusive when viewed in isolation, but may not be when viewed in the context of a larger conversation.

Twitter is going all out on their freedom of speech high horse and is almost justifying some levels of abuse (depending on the context).  Another thing that causes some upset is Twitter have refused to block anonymous accounts and will let users create as many accounts as they wish anonymously.  This in my opinion is heaven to a person that wants to give abuse to people online.  “We believe everyone has the right to share their voice without requiring a government ID to do so. Pseudonymity has been a vital tool for speaking out in oppressive regimes, it is no less critical in democratic societies.  

Are all of the social platforms doing ALL they can in the fight against online abuse and hate speech?  The fight will never be over, there will always be an element to this kind of abuse online, but some platforms need to try much harder to keep as much of this behavior off their platform as possible.