User of Twitter Inc. (TWTR) are known for bad behavior from time to time, but now that rule breaking will get them a digital timeout, particularly if you are lobbing bad words at lawmakers.
Earlier this month, the embattled social media company quietly started rolling out a feature that temporarily limits a user’s Twitter reach if they break the rules such as cursing out a lawmaker or otherwise engaging in abusive or bad behavior on Twitter. The new feature, which was first reported by BuzzFeed, basically puts the user in a timeout where only people in his or her network can view their tweets for a limited period of time. Think of it as a virtual counting to 10.
BuzzFeed highlighted a recent conversation between a Twitter user and a company rep after getting put into a timeout. “Conversations are core to Twitter, but if we detect behavior that may violate the Twitter Rules or inhibit other people’s ability to express themselves freely, we may temporarily limit certain account features,” Twitter wrote. “This could mean only your followers are able see your activity on Twitter, including Tweets, likes, Retweets, etc. Limiting the reach of potentially abusive content creates a safer environment and stronger Twitter community.”
Addressing Harassing Behavior
The new feature Twitter comes at a time when the company has vowed to increase anti-harassment efforts on the social network. Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey has gone as far as to say a top focus of the company is giving users better control and reining in abusive behavior is part of that effort, reported BuzzFeed. For Twitter, any attempts to improve its platform will be welcome news given it’s been struggling with a lack of growth, with the growth rate in the fourth quarter the worst in Twitter’s history. (See also: Report: Twitter Sees 30% Growth In Brazil in 2016.)
Last week, Twitter took a stab at humanizing direct messaging for companies, enabling businesses to create profiles so they can prove they are human, and not computers, in dealing with a customer complaint. In a blog post, Twitter said consumers want to get connected to real people when dealing with a company on Twitter, and with the new feature, businesses can more clearly indicate when it is a human or a bot handling the issue. Twitter said that based on its own research, connecting on a human level can create a big boost with businesses. The social media giant said 77% of people are apt to recommend a brand after having a personalized customer service interaction on Twitter. What’s more, people are 19% more likely to feel like they reached a resolution with their problem and 22% more satisfied when talking to a human on Twitter than when dealing with a company bot.