Cyberbullying has fast become the norm on social media. Cyberbullies hide behind the anonymity of their usernames and Twitter handles to spread malicious and threatening messages to unsuspecting users across various social media platforms. Twitter’s director of product management, Shreyas Doshi, announced last week that the company is making new products and updating its violent threats policy to curb cyberbullying on Twitter. This much needed policy shift comes in response to criticism of Twitter’s previously lackluster approach to tackling cyberbullying.
These new products and policy updates are intended to ensure that harmful content is caught before it spreads and that those who break any of Twitter’s engagement rules are held liable for their actions. In the same vein, Instagram has updated its community guidelines to encourage users to “post content that is appropriate for a diverse audience” and to “respect other members of the Instagram community.”
This new development by Twitter shows us how important it is that companies listen to their customers. The best way to practice proactive public relations is to keep abreast of public opinions, good and bad. This will help organizations understand what’s working and what isn’t and how to make appropriate changes. The task of building a bully-free social platform is no easy feat. Social networks must ensure that they’re not infringing on anyone’s right to freedom of speech and that they’re sensitive to the differing communication manners of other cultures. At the same time, however, they must ensure that no harmful posts goes unchecked. This hasn’t stopped Twitter from trying.
Eradicating cyberbullying from its social platform is a herculean task — one that Twitter may never be able to fully accomplish. But rather than rest on past laurels, the company is dedicating more time and resources to developing new ways to reduce the negative effects of cyberbullying. We applaud them for it. Perhaps other social media platforms could come together to fight for legislation to combat cyberbullying.
What else can Twitter so to better tackle cyberbullying? Tell us in the comments section or tweet me @mo_yeen