Anna Turley, Member of Parliament for Redcar, has today welcomed new Twitter features which could filter out abusive tweets from user’s timelines.
This feature is central to Anna’s Malicious Communications (Social Media) Bill, scheduled for a second reading on Friday, which seeks to place a responsibility on social media platforms to filter out abusive content before it reaches the intended recipient.
Anna's bill provides for new legislation to force social media platforms to establish a filter on abusive messages for all users under the age of 18 and adults who wish to use it. Social media platforms failing to provide these protections would face fines of up to £2million for failing to protect users.
Twitter’s new notification controls now give users the ability to hide potentially abusive messages by muting comments from users who they do not follow and those who have not confirmed their contact details and by allowing users to block messages containing specific words.
“I am really pleased to see Twitter have introduced these new controls and welcome the fact they have taken on board the demand in my private members bill for social media platforms to take greater responsibility for filtering abusive content.
“Every day thousands of people are receiving intimidating, offensive, indecent, obscene or menacing messages which can cause a great deal of distress and harm and these new controls will go some way to addressing that for Twitter users. I knew that social media companies already had the technology and the algorithms to enable this so am delighted to see they are finally giving people more control over the content they see.
“However the industry still has more to do, especially to protect children and young people who use these platforms. My bill calls for the Government to step in to regulate the industry, because while it is welcome that Twitter are doing this, it shouldn’t be piecemeal and at the discretion of individual platforms, there needs to be a government-wide strategy.”
“I hope the other social media companies will follow Twitter’s lead and be more proactive in tackling abusive users using their services.”
The Malicious Communications (Social Media) Bill 2016-17 can be found here.