Last December, Twitter conducted a limited test of a new report tweet flow in the US that aimed to improve the process of flagging objectionable or dangerous content on the site, adding more options to explain whatever the problem was. The test worked: the number of actionable reports increased by 50%, resulting in Twitter removing more bad content. Now Twitter is using these insights to update the feature globally: The new Report Tweet update is rolling out globally.
From our testing, it’s still English-only and no localized versions of the report have been enabled, which may address issues more common in one region than another. (We reached out to Twitter to ask if any of these will be addressed in the future.)
The move comes at a crucial time for the company. Content moderation has been a massive headache for social media companies, and they’ve had to face federal investigations in several countries scrutinizing their efforts.
Many contracted moderators work in unsafe conditions and have to edit multiple posts in an hour. And the format of the report submitted for a post may not help them present the full context of the situation, forcing them to ignore the report or take the wrong actions.
In addition, Twitter in particular is struggling with a lot of headaches because of this problem. Not only is it a go-to place for many when it comes to hot takes — a honeypot when it comes to trolls and offensive comments overall — but the company is regularly criticized for being slow to respond to complaints from people, both contextually using it to report Tweets or make any type of update to the Twitter Product itself.
But Twitter — now in the midst of a potential takeover process that has highlighted partially suspicious content and accounts hosted on the platform, and which itself could spur a significant change to its moderation policy — wants us to know that’s on it.
The new Report Tweet process allows you to provide more context when reporting a tweet. In the previous reporting flow, you had limited choices in terms of categories that describe why a post should be removed and who it affects. And it was more focused on figuring out what rule a tweet might be breaking.
Legacy expiration report category options
Twitter’s new reporting process better guides you by giving you more information about how a tweet might affect someone. You can also select multiple options to frame the context of the allegedly abusive tweet. Each screen contains a detailed description of the step and the options available on that page.
New reporting flow on Twitter
At the end of the process, Twitter summarizes your complaint to indicate which rule the reported Tweet may violate. If you think this is not the right rule, you can choose a different rule. Additionally, Twitter allows you to provide additional context via a text box.
With Twitter, you can now provide additional context for your report
The update should make reporting a lot easier for more people. For one, the previous incarnation of the experience proved annoying for people to find out what policy a tweet might be breaking if they’ve seen something disturbing or want to report harassment.
“What can be frustrating and complex when it comes to reporting is that we enforce Terms of Service violations under the Twitter Rules. Twitter violations, yet they still report what they are experiencing as deeply problematic and highly troubling,” said Senior UX Manager Renna Al-Yassini said in December.
The company said it worked with various designers, researchers and writers to painstakingly create this new flow. With this change, Twitter plans to use this new reporting data to identify more trends and categories of harassment and spam.
The effectiveness of the new process will be tested when people in different regions and cultural contexts use it to justify whether a tweet is abusive.
Twitter’s new reporting process is available for iOS, Android and web.