Security Experts:

Twitter Forms Trust & Safety Council

Twitter this week announced the formation of the Twitter Trust & Safety Council, an initiative designed to boost user trust across the social media network.

The micro-blogging company serves around 320 million users, ranging from content creators to activists, and from end-users looking to stay informed to professionals sharing their knowledge to the world. According to Twitter, its main focus is on ensuring that people can express themselves freely and safely, and the company has tools and policies in place for that.

Last week, Twitter announced that it suspended over 125,000 accounts in 2015 for threatening or promoting terrorist acts. As per Twitter Rules, violent threats, harassment, and hateful conduct represent abusive behavior, and accounts that do not comply with these rules are suspended after reviewing their activity.

The company also announced that it has increased the number of people in the team in charge with reviewing reports on suspicious account activity. It reiterated its commitment to both prohibit certain behaviors on its network and provide users with the ability to share their views freely, and the formation of the Trust & Safety Council is yet another step in this direction.

In a recent blog post, Patricia Cartes, Head of Global Policy Outreach at Twitter, explains that the social media network has adopted a multi-layered approach to ensuring freedom of speech, with both users and experts involved in it. She also notes that striking the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power is a complex activity, given the hundreds of millions of tweets sent per day.

The new Trust & Safety Council is meant to help in this regard, courtesy of a global and inclusive approach. Thus, the Council should help the micro-blogging platform tap into the expertise and input of organizations more efficiently and quickly when it prepares new products, policies, and programs.

The Council will gather insight from safety advocates, academics, and researchers focused on minors, media literacy, digital citizenship, and efforts around greater compassion and empathy on the Internet, as well as from grassroots advocacy organizations that rely on Twitter to build movements and momentum.

At the same time, the social media company is determined to listen to the voice of community groups with an acute need to prevent abuse, harassment, and bullying, as well as mental health and suicide prevention, Cartes said.

At launch, the Twitter Trust & Safety Council has more than 40 organizations and experts from 13 regions as its members, including: Anti-Bullying Pro, Center for Democracy and Technology, Cyber Civil Rights Initiative, Dangerous Speech Project, EU Kids Online, Family Online Safety Institute, Feminist Frequency, GLAAD, iCanHelp, Internet Watch Foundation, LICRA, National Cyber Security Alliance, National Network to End Domestic Violence, UK Safer Internet Centre, and Without My Consent.

In December 2015, Twitter started alerting users when suspecting their accounts might have been targeted by state sponsored attackers, yet another proof of its commitment to freedom of speech. However, the company did not make an official announcement on whether it would join Google and Facebook in their efforts to continuously monitor user accounts for signs of state-sponsored attack activity.

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