Twitter's clampdown comes as social media companies come under pressure from the United Kingdom government to curb online harassment.
The social media platform said Tuesday it will stop so-called trolls from creating new abusive accounts and will collapse "low-quality" and potentially abusive tweets from feeds and searches.
Instead of just suspending abusive accounts, Twitter will now identify the individuals behind those accounts and prevent them from simply creating new ones. This, the company says, will serve to block the kinds of accounts that are frequently created with the sole objective of abusing and harassing others. It's also developing a system that removes from searches tweets that contain potentially sensitive material.
The final change (at least for now) will see what Twitter deems to be "abusive and low-quality replies" collapsed under a tab marked "less relevant replies". But Twitter's vice president of engineering, Ed Ho, tweeted last month that the company "didn't move fast enough" a year ago to make Twitter safer.
The product changes are to roll out in the weeks to come, and some features will be more visible than others. "That's put in jeopardy when abuse and harassment stifle and silence those voices", Twitter explains.
"Making Twitter a safer place is our primary focus", VP of Engineering Ed Ho wrote. Today, Twitter announced a trio of new tools that it hopes may mitigate the widespread abuses. "We won't tolerate it and we're launching new efforts to stop it". Users who want to see those hidden replies will be able to view them by clicking on a tab for "less relevant replies" but otherwise they will stay hidden.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey called the new tools "a completely new approach to abuse on Twitter".
While Twitter's competitors such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have rolled out new features and grown their users and ad sales, Twitter has lagged. Last week, Twitter introduced another feature which allows you to report Tweets that mention you, even if the author has blocked you.
Despite efforts to curb their activity, hatemongers have already scared away some of Twitter's most influential users.