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Twitter says its troll crackdown is working

  • Twitter says it's taking action on 10 times the number of accounts it did a year ago.
  • People are "learning not to cross the line," says Ed Ho, general manager of Twitter's Consumer Product and Engineering Group.
  • The announcement comes one week before Twitter's Q2 earnings report.
Jack Dorsey
Justin Tallis | Getty Images
Jack Dorsey

Twitter has come under pressure for not doing enough to crack down on trolls and accounts tweeting out abusive content. In February, the company began taking steps like more aggressively stopping new "abusive" accounts from being created and collapsing abusive or offensive tweets.

And it's working, the company says.

On Thursday, the company announced it's taking action on 10 times the number of accounts tweeting out things that violate Twitter's rules and policies than they did a year ago, although it declined to give the exact numbers.

Del Harvey, Twitter's Head of Trust and Safety said they're not just relying on the new technology, they've made strides to make sure abuse reports are reviewed by a person in a timely manner.

"It's something that we're going to have to keep working on and improving on," she added.

Ed Ho, general manager of Twitter's Consumer Product and Engineering Group, explained that the company's practice of placing abusive accounts under "limited functionality" -- a sort of time-out with penalties ranging from no tweeting to complete suspension -- has also been helpful.

When accounts are placed under these restrictions, Twitter gets 25 percent fewer reports of harassment about them. Additionally, 65 percent of accounts who face these restrictions only face them once.

"We believe that people are learning to not cross the line," Ho said, adding that this is preferable to removing people from Twitter.

The social media platform said they will continue to improve their existing safety features and work faster at addressing harassment.

However, as some recent high profile incidents on Twitter show, it remains to be seen if the new safety updates reach far enough.

On July 5, Rob Kardashian posted nude photos of his ex-fiance Blac Chyna on Twitter, after his Instagram posts with the same photos were removed. These were up for 30 minutes before Twitter took them down. In addition, British singer Ed Sheeran deleted his Twitter account after his Game of Thrones appearance on July 16, after reportedly being harassed by internet trolls.

Twitter reports Q2 earnings before the bell on Thursday, July 27.