Twitter Tests ‘Safety Mode’ Feature to Automatically Block Abusive Accounts

Social networking service Twitter has rolled out a new feature designed to halt online harassment and undesirable interactions on its platform.

The Safety Mode feature released yesterday is available for a limited number of beta testers on iOS, Android and, with English-language settings enabled, before it becomes available worldwide.

As explained by Twitter Senior Product Manager Jarrod Doherty, Safety Mode will automatically temporarily block users who use hateful language for seven days.

“Safety Mode is a feature that temporarily blocks accounts for seven days for using potentially harmful language — such as insults or hateful remarks — or sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions,” he said.

For this to work, users need to turn on the feature from their Settings menu.

“When the feature is turned on in your Settings, our systems will assess the likelihood of a negative engagement by considering both the Tweet’s content and the relationship between the Tweet author and replier,” he said. “Our technology takes existing relationships into account, so accounts you follow or frequently interact with will not be autoblocked.”

Users of accounts flagged by Safety Mode will temporarily be unable to follow your account, see Tweets or send DMs. Moreover, users with Safety Mode enabled can view the temporarily blocked accounts and receive notifications once the seven-day period approaches.

Twitter anticipates some inaccuracies. To solve any mistakes, it will allow users to undo any autoblocks carried out by Safety Mode.

“We won’t always get this right and may make mistakes, so Safety Mode autoblocks can be seen and undone at any time in your Settings,” the company said. “We’ll also regularly monitor the accuracy of our Safety Mode systems to make improvements to our detection capabilities.”

The platform said it wants to see how Safety Mode works before globally launching the features.