Twitter Crackdown Sets Positive Example

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Twitter has made it easier for users to report abusive tweets, and is beefing up staff to handle abuse reports. Denae Olberding of Atlanta's Everspark Interactive says the step is a positive one for all social media.

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Social media works because people are free to express themselves.

Twitter has announced that it will be taking a harder stand against abusive tweets and hate language. The announcement followed a flurry of threatening tweets in the UK, and is a step in the right direction according to Denae Olberding of Atlanta's Everspark Interactive.

Twitter's decision came after the Bank of England made a controversial announcement, according to CNN (08.05.2013). The bank announced that new 10-pound notes will bear the image of renowned novelist Jane Austen. The announcement allegedly resulted in a wave of angry, and sometimes threatening, tweets against women who had supported the move – including activists and at least one member of Parliament.

The abusive tweets included numerous rape threats, according to those targeted.

“Social media only works when it's transparent,” said Olberding, who oversees social media for Everspark, Atlanta's meteoric internet marketing and SEO firm. “If users can use anonymity to harass and threaten each other, it's not media at all.”

Previously, abusive tweets were hard to report, requiring several steps in a user's control panel. Twitter is now adding an easy “report abuse” button beneath all tweets, which has already appeared on some mobile platforms. The company has also said it's adding more staff to handle abuse reports.

“Social media works because people are free to express themselves,” Olberding said. “That doesn't happen if some users can cow others into keeping their heads down, or drive them out of the conversation.”

Reporting the abusive tweets resulted in at least one arrest in Manchester, according to British police.

“Nobody wants to suppress conversation on the internet,” Olberding said. “But if you threaten someone's life or safety, even if you do it online, you are no longer being 'social.'”

About Everspark:

Everspark Interactive is an all-in-one SEO, marketing and online media firm that specializes in creating gripping, keyword-laden copy that will attract attention from both search engines and live customers. The company can be reached at (770) 481-1766.

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