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This Is How Twitter Is Planning To Combat Online Abuse Micro-blogging platform Twitter announced that it will launch a feature which will let users limit replies on their tweets

By Shreya Ganguly

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Given 2019 was a year of ups and downs for social media companies as they faced criticism across the globe due to increased instances of data breach and spread of misinformation, companies are gearing up to avoid making similar mistakes here on. Micro-blogging platform Twitter announced that it will launch a feature which will let users limit replies to their tweets.

According to media reports, the new feature called "Conversation Dynamics' is expected to combat cyber-bullying and trolling. The feature will allow users four choices—"Global', "Group', "Panel' and "Statement'—to customize replies. Under Global anyone can reply, Group will allow people followed by the users to reply, Panel will allow only tagged users to reply and Statement will not allow any replies at all.

The feature was announced by vice-president of product at Twitter, Kayvon Beykpour during the CES 2020 in Las Vegas which is being held during January 7-10, 2020. While addressing the crowd, Beykpour explained the main motive behind this feature is control. He added that Twitter is also planning to give users more control and different ways to communicate. The experiment with this feature will begin in the current quarter.

New Features Launched

According to reports, the aim of the "conversation dynamics" feature is to give people more control over their tweets however this control might also be wrongly used as an abusive tool.

However, according to the company, the problem can be solved by allowing users to quote tweets containing misinformation and harmful content and highligh them. Apart from this, the company will also closely monitor on how the feature will be used during the experiment and take actions depending on the results.

The social media company also announced that the company will add a discovery page for lists to its app as well. This feature will allow users to subscribe to lists of people that they might be interested in.

While speaking at the event, Beykpour said that in 2020 the company will majorly focus on health, conversations and interests. He also added that more than 50 per cent of abusive tweets were identified before people reported.

Challenging Year For Social Media Companies

The social media companies had a tough 2019 after several instances of breach and fake information were reported. Mark Zuckerberg's Facebook received criticisms across the globe after the infamous Facebook-Cambridge Analytica scandal which compromised data of nearly 87 million users across the globe. In July 2019, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) had fined Facebook $5 billion over privacy breaches. Lack of clear data policies and security of privacy rocked Facebook's reputation beyond repair.

In an interview with Willamette Week, US Senator Ron Wyden had said that founder Zuckerberg should face imprisonment for lying to American citizens about Facebook's privacy lapse.

Recently in December 2019, while speaking at the Global Technology Summit organized by Carnegie India, Facebook India managing director and vice-president Ajit Mohan said that Facebook made mistakes earlier but the Mark Zuckerberg-owned company is making genuine efforts to gain public trust.

In the latest privacy-related controversy, reports revealed that spyware "Pegasus' snooped into the phones of 1,400 people across the world earlier this year through WhatsApp. The Facebook-owned messaging platform had filed a case against Israel-based surveillance firm NSO Group in the federal court, accusing them of allegedly being involved in the breach.

Following this in November 2019, the Reserve Bank of India told the Supreme Court that WhatsApp is not compliant with data localization norms. Reports revealed that, the central bank also asked NPCI to not allow a full-scale launch of WhatsApp Payments in India.

Shreya Ganguly

Former Features Writer

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