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What Is Twitter’s New Safety Mode and How Does It Work? – MakeUseOf

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Among social media platforms, Twitter is one of the few that still lets you reach people without having to pay a dime. Unfortunately, this means that people can also contact you even when you might not want them to.

While many people use Twitter to connect with like-minded people, improve their career prospects, and vent into the internet void, others use it for more nefarious means. Through the years, many Twitter users have felt unsafe with various types of unwelcome interactions, from stalking to outright harassment.

Twitter is trying to make these uncomfortable experiences a thing of the past with its new Safety Mode feature. Here’s how it works:

What Is Safety Mode?

Twitter Safety Mode
Image Credit: Twitter

In September 2021, Twitter stated that it’s piloting a new Safety Mode feature to reduce disruptive interactions. As of writing, Twitter is rolling out the feature to a small feedback group of iOS, Android, and Twitter.com website users.

Using Safety Mode, you can temporarily block accounts for up to seven days for harmful language or harassment. This includes things like uninvited mentions or replies. While Twitter hasn’t released the complete list of problematic terms, it’s interesting to speculate how Twitter might handle the review system.

From the initial PR photos, it appears that Safety Mode is a general feature that you can toggle on to auto-block accounts. You can also view which accounts Twitter has automatically blocked for you. According to Twitter, its technology will consider existing relationships, so you won’t need to worry about auto-blocking those you frequently interact with.

Lastly, Twitter will also send you notifications recapping information before the seven-day Safety Mode period ends. That way, you can decide whether to block someone for good.

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How Safety Mode Might Work

Twitter Privacy Settings
Image Credit: Twitter

While Safety Mode’s implementation has yet to be seen, there’s a lot of potential for this new feature. Users commonly note growing problems within social media websites like endless bots, doxing threats, and divisive algorithms. Safety mode can help protect users from these dangers, mitigate individual harassment and avoid organized attacks by large-scale groups.

When it comes to managing Twitter mobs, the seven-day break could de-escalate potential Twitter feuds before they get out of hand. Seven days may also be enough to divert the attention of people looking to make a person’s life temporarily unbearable.

On the other hand, the feature may also reduce the controversial conversation sometimes required to grow an audience. Additionally, while some language may seem harmful, it may be the only way to communicate valid points of natural discourse.

Aside from the existing ways to protect yourself on Twitter, Safety Mode treads the middle ground between doing nothing and outright blocking a user. You could even say that it acts like a virtual time-out for adults, which some people may need. One thing’s for sure: many users will benefit from Safety Mode.

Internet Safety on Twitter

As the virtual world becomes just as real as the one outside it, Safety Mode reminds users that there is are actual human beings at the other end of mentions and DMs. And while it’s always difficult to tell how Twitter will execute new features, Safety Mode’s success will ultimately depend on how its technology manages its sentiment tracking.

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Twitter’s Safety Mode is just one tool for making people feel safe online. Aside from Safety Mode, it’s also possible to block users or maintain a private account. Unfortunately, these options are never a substitute for civility, manners, or compassion. But teaching people to take a step back when the heat is on is definitely a start.

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About The Author

Quina Baterna
(102 Articles Published)

Quina spends most of her days day drinking at the beach while writing about how technology affects politics, security, and entertainment.

She is primarily based in Southeast Asia and graduated with a degree in Information Design.

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TWITTER

Jack Dorsey Post Twitter Is Chasing His Crypto, Fintech Dream

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At a packed Miami conference in June, Jack Dorsey, mused in front of thousands of attendees about where his real passion lay: “If I weren’t at Square or Twitter, I’d be working on Bitcoin.”

On Monday, Dorsey made good on one part of that, announcing he would leave Twitter for the second time, handing the CEO position to a 10-year veteran at the firm. The 45-year-old entrepreneur, who is often described as an enigma with varied interests from meditation to yoga to fashion design, plans to pursue his passion which include focusing on running Square and doing more philanthropic work, according to a source familiar with his plan.

Well before the surprise news, Dorsey had laid the groundwork for his next chapter, seeding both companies with cryptocurrency-related projects.

Underlying Dorsey’s broader vision is the principle of “decentralisation,” or the idea that technology and finance should not be concentrated among a handful of gatekeepers, as it is now, but should, instead, be steered by the hands of the many, either people or entities.

The concept has played out at Square, which has built a division devoted to working on projects and awarding grants with the aim of growing Bitcoin’s popularity globally. Bitcoin price in India stood at Rs. 44.52 lakh as of 12:50pm IST on December 1.

Dorsey has been a longtime proponent of Bitcoin, and the appeal is that the cryptocurrency will allow for private and secure transactions with the value of Bitcoin unrelated to any government.

The idea has also underpinned new projects at Twitter, where Dorsey tapped a top lieutenant – and now the company’s new CEO Parag Agrawal – to oversee a team that is attempting to construct a decentralised social media protocol, which will allow different social platforms to connect with one another, similar to the way email providers operate.

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The project called Bluesky will aim to allow users control over the types of content they see online, removing the “burden” on companies like Twitter to enforce a global policy to fight abuse or misleading information, Dorsey said in 2019 when he announced Bluesky.

Bitcoin has also figured prominently at both of his companies. Square became one of the first public companies to own Bitcoin assets on its balance sheet, having invested $220 million (roughly Rs. 1,650 crore) in the cryptocurrency.

In August, Square created a new business unit called TBD to focus on Bitcoin. The company is also planning to build a hardware wallet for Bitcoin, a Bitcoin mining system, as well as a decentralised Bitcoin exchange.

Twitter allows users to tip their favourite content creators with Bitcoin and has been testing integrations with non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a type of digital asset that allows people to collect unique digital art.

Analysts see the transition as a positive signal for Square, the fintech platform he co-founded in 2009. Square’s core Cash App, after a bull run in its share in 2020, has experienced slower growth in the most recent quarter. It is also trying to digest the $29 billion (roughly Rs. 2,17,240 crore) acquisition of Buy Now Pay Later provider Afterpay, its largest acquisition ever.

But these ambitions will not pay off until years from now, analysts cautioned.

“The blockchain platform they’re trying to develop is great but also fraught with technical challenges and difficult to scale for consumers. I think he’ll focus more on Square and crypto will be part of that,” said Christopher Brendler, an analyst at DA Davidson.

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© Thomson Reuters 2021


Interested in cryptocurrency? We discuss all things crypto with WazirX CEO Nischal Shetty and WeekendInvesting founder Alok Jain on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

Cryptocurrency is an unregulated digital currency, not a legal tender and subject to market risks. The information provided in the article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial advice, trading advice or any other advice or recommendation of any sort offered or endorsed by NDTV. NDTV shall not be responsible for any loss arising from any investment based on any perceived recommendation, forecast or any other information contained in the article.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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TWITTER

Twitter Bans Sharing Personal Photos, Videos of Other People Without Consent

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Twitter launched new rules Tuesday blocking users from sharing private images of other people without their consent, in a tightening of the network’s policy just a day after it changed CEOs.

Under the new rules, people who are not public figures can ask Twitter to take down pictures or video of them that they report were posted without permission.

Beginning today, we will not allow the sharing of private media, such as images or videos of private individuals without their consent. Publishing people’s private info is also prohibited under the policy, as is threatening or incentivizing others to do so.https://t.co/7EXvXdwegG

— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) November 30, 2021

Twitter said this policy does not apply to “public figures or individuals when media and accompanying tweet text are shared in the public interest or add value to public discourse.”

“We will always try to assess the context in which the content is shared and, in such cases, we may allow the images or videos to remain on the service,” the company added.

The right of Internet users to appeal to platforms when images or data about them are posted by third parties, especially for malicious purposes, has been debated for years.

Twitter already prohibited the publication of private information such as a person’s phone number or address, but there are “growing concerns” about the use of content to “harass, intimidate, and reveal the identities of individuals,” Twitter said.

The company noted a “disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities.”

High-profile examples of online harassment include the barrages of racist, sexist,and homophobic abuse on Twitch, the world’s biggest video game streaming site.

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But instances of harassment abound, and victims must often wage lengthy fights to see hurtful, insulting or illegally produced images of themselves removed from the online platforms.

Some Twitter users pushed the company to clarify exactly how the tightened policy would work.

“Does this mean that if I take a picture of, say, a concert in Central Park, I need the permission of everyone in it? We diminish the sense of the public to the detriment of the public,” tweeted Jeff Jarvis, a journalism professor at the City University of New York.

The change came the day after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey announced he was leaving the company, and handed CEO duties to company executive Parag Agrawal.

The platform, like other social media networks, has struggled against bullying, misinformation, and hate-fuelled content.


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TWITTER

Twitter likely to roll out ‘Reactions’ feature soon

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After unveiling several features this year, micro-blogging site Twitter is reportedly readying new features, including Reactions, Downvotes and Sorted Replies for iOS users.

According to reverse engineer Nima Owji, the Reactions feature, which started being tested a couple of months ago, is set to launch soon, reports 9To5Mac.

With four new reactions, “tears of joy,” “thinking face,” “clapping hands” and “crying face,” this feature is designed to give users the ability to better show how conversations make them feel and to give users “a better understanding of how their Tweets are received”.

Citing the reverse engineer, the report also mentioned that the micro-blogging site is now able to store data about the downvotes feature, which is another indicator that this function will be released sooner rather than later.

The report also notes that the company changed the downvote position as well. It has even added a new tab explaining how downvotes work.

This month, the company has rolled out its in-app tipping feature to all Android users above the age of 18, following the iOS launch in September.

Twitter said the “Tips” feature is geared toward users looking to get a little financial support from their followers through Cash App, PayPal, Venmo and Patreon directly through the app.

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