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Twitter touts a 'healthier' service after it was slow to remove death threats against congresswoman

Key Points
  • Twitter claimed it has "made strides in creating a healthier service" on Tuesday following reports about the social media giant's shortcomings in managing abusive content.
  • Twitter shared a progress report Tuesday touting a proactive approach to finding abusive content.
  • The company's release comes after BuzzFeed reported citing a source close to the company, that Twitter left up tweets threatening freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar's life so that law enforcement could investigate them.
Twitter
Kacper Pempel | Reuters

Twitter claimed it has "made strides in creating a healthier service" on Tuesday following reports about the social media giant's shortcomings in managing abusive content.

Twitter shared a progress report Tuesday touting a proactive approach to finding abusive content. The company's release comes after BuzzFeed reported on Monday that the social media giant purposely left up tweets threatening freshman congresswoman Rep. Ilhan Omar's life so that law enforcement could investigate them. The BuzzFeed report cites a source close to the company, and the company has not specifically acknowledged that it purposely left the tweets up.

Rep. Ilhan has been in the spotlight for comments she made about 9-11 last month, in which she included the phrase "some people did something." The remark drew attacks from some Republican lawmakers, and last Friday President Trump highlighted the remarks with a video showing them juxtaposed against images of the 2001 terrorist attacks. Omar faced numerous death threats on Twitter as the controversy swelled.

Stopping the spread of abusive content has been an uphill battle for Twitter.

Last month Twitter said it went to great lengths to take down videos from the New Zealand Mosque shooting that kept popping up on its platform.

In its Tuesday post, Twitter offered some statistics to show its progress. Today, it said, 38% of abusive content is found by Twitter first, instead of relying on reports from users. As recently as last year, the company relied exclusively on user reports. Twitter also said that it suspends three times as many abusive accounts within 24 hours of a report, compared to last year.

Twitter vowed to keep improving technology to support these efforts, making reporting easier for users, and experimenting with a "hide replies" function.

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