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Twitter aborts anti-abuse tool amidst complaints it facilitated abuse

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By John Glenday | Reporter

February 14, 2017 | 2 min read

Twitter’s bid to shed itself of a reputation for abuse and trolling has come unstuck at the first hurdle after a feature announced with much fanfare just six days ago was found to encourage abuse rather than curtail it.

In an abrupt volte-face Twitter announced that it would cease notifying members when another user added them to a list following complaints that trolls and malicious users were able to directly notify their abuse targets by adding them to obscenely named lists.

The debacle lifted a lid on the chaos within Twitter’s own ‘Safety’ team as within hours the decision to axe notifications had itself been reversed following a second deluge of complaints from people pointing out that they relied on such alerts to identify when they were being targeted in this way.

Far from reassuring victims that it was getting a handle on things it seems that Twitters flip-flopping has merely raised concern that it has no clear strategy in place to tackle the problem and is instead left swaying in the wind of public opinion.

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