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For whom the bell trolls – Twitter threatens to lock out persistent abusive users

Twitter has revamped its terms and conditions to reflect the fact it has implemented a series of changes to help it clampdown on trolls on the site.

The social network has made two changes, one broadening its definition of prohibited content and another redefining how it handles trolls breaching its rules.

On the prohibition side, Twitter has expanded from acting against “direct, specific threats of violence against others” to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others”.

On the changes, Shreyas Doshi, director of product management at Twitter, said: “Our previous policy was unduly narrow and limited our ability to act on certain kinds of threatening behavior. The updated language better describes the range of prohibited content and our intention to act when users step over the line into abuse.”

On the enforcement policy, Doshi added that the company will be locking those breaking its rules out of the service for a set amount of time “This option gives us leverage in a variety of contexts, particularly where multiple users begin harassing a particular person or group of people," he said.

Furthermore, Twitter will be looking at the age of accounts and similarity to other tweets deemed abusive when flagging up inappropriate content.

Doshi concluded: “While dedicating more resources toward better responding to abuse reports is necessary and even critical, an equally important priority for us is identifying and limiting the incentives that enable and even encourage some users to engage in abuse.

"We’ll be monitoring how these changes discourage abuse and how they help ensure the overall health of a platform that encourages everyone’s participation.”

The changes come just after BBC presenter Sue Perkins came under a torrent of abuse on the site for being linked to the currently vacant Top Gear position.