Twitter Offers More Sophisticated Tools Against Trolls

The new 'block list' feature enables users to share lists with other users and crowdsource their blocking.

Twitter has a troll problem, and it knows, so it’s been working recently to curb the trolling, as have third parties. Still, it seemed there weren’t enough tools available for users to protect themselves. Twitter is hoping the addition of “block lists” could help solve the problem.

According to an official blog post from Twitter:

You can now export and share your block lists with people in your community facing similar issues or import another user’s list into your own account and block multiple accounts all at once, instead of blocking them individually. We also hope these advanced blocking tools will prove useful to the developer community to further improve users’ experience.

The issue with a lot of the harassment on Twitter is that very few users are outright banned from the service, and even when they are, it’s easy to get back on the service. That leads to continued harassment, regardless of blocking individual accounts. Furthermore, when a user is subject to persistent or group attacks, the block and report functions can quickly become useless.

The creation of creating exportable lists essentially enables users to crowdsource their blocking. A list could easily be passed around among a sub group and the list can grow as it passes from person to person. This could be a great tool for groups that routinely face harassment from multiple sources and accounts.

The issue with these lists, and most of Twitter’s solutions, is the ease of creating a new account. Until recently, all that was required to sign up was an email address and a unique username. However, Twitter has been toying with phone verification as a method of banning and tracking users. While this and IP based bans have their own challenges, when used in conjunction with growing ban lists, Twitter could be onto a solution it has needed for a long time.

Image courtesy of Gil C /