Safety Mode reaches Ireland as Twitter expands its beta testingLeigh Mc Gowranon February 16, 2022 at 11:54 Silicon RepublicSilicon Republic


Twitter is expanding the trial of its new Safety Mode feature, by bringing the beta version to users in Ireland, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Following the initial roll-out of the beta version last September, Twitter is now expanding the feature to more people. The company believes this will help it collect “more insights on how Safety Mode is working and explore ways to incorporate additional improvements”.

“We want you to enjoy healthy conversations, so this test is one way we’re limiting overwhelming and unwelcome interactions that can interrupt those conversations,” Twitter previously said in a statement. “Our goal is to better protect the individual on the receiving end of tweets by reducing the prevalence and visibility of harmful remarks.”

What is Safety Mode?

The feature – first announced last September – tries to detect when accounts are sending potentially harmful or insulting tweets, to reduce the risks of negative engagements on the social media platform. When tweets are picked up by this feature, the user’s account will automatically block the offending account for seven days.

Twitter previously said its technology will “assess the likelihood of a negative engagement by considering both the tweet’s content and the relationship between the tweet author and replier”. This means that blocks won’t come into effect between two users who interact frequently, so playful banter shouldn’t accidentally be mistaken for offending content.

The social media company highlighted that it conducted prior feedback sessions with expert partners in online safety, mental health and human rights. Its Trust and Safety Council was a large part of this, with contributing members asked their opinions and advice.

New features

Twitter said some users testing the new feature want more help to identify “unwelcome interactions”. In order to address this concern, Safety Mode now proactively identifies potentially harmful or uninvited replies, while prompting the user to enable Safety Mode so they can avoid reading the replies.

“This update further reduces the burden on people dealing with unwelcome interactions,” Twitter said.

While Twitter works on reducing the risk of negative interactions, the company has received criticism on a feature being tested to allow faster direct messaging. This was announced in a tweet earlier this month by Twitter Support, saying it would make it easier for those on the platform to “start a conversation”.

But many users replied raising concerns around how the move could make harassment easier by eliminating the need to go to another user’s profile to send a DM.

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