Twitter’s New ‘Safety Mode’ Flags Harmful Tweets and Blocks Senders

Smartphone with Twitter Logo and Blue Background laid on a Wooden Surface

Twitter has introduced a new feature known as ‘Safety Mode’ that temporarily blocks accounts for using insulting or harmful language.

This feature aims to reduce disruptive interactions, the company said.

Safety Mode was rolled out to a small feedback group of English-language users of iOS, Android, and the Twitter website.

The social media company said it would monitor how the tool is working and incorporate improvements and adjustments before rolling it out for the rest of its users.

How Does Safety Mode Work?

Safety Mode is a feature that temporarily blocks users for seven days for using potentially harmful language. This includes making insulting or hateful remarks or sending repetitive and unsolicited replies or mentions.

Once the user turns on the feature in their settings, Twitter’s systems will “assess the likelihood of negative engagement by considering both the Tweet’s content and the relationship between the Tweet author and replier.”

Twitter’s systems will auto-block accounts that send out harmful or uninvited tweets. However, the tool takes into account existing interactions and will not auto-block accounts that the user follows or frequently interacts with.

Users can access information about the flagged tweets at any time. They can also view the details of the temporarily blocked accounts.

Users will also receive a notification recapping this information before each Safety Mode period ends.

“We won’t always get this right and may make mistakes, so Safety Mode autoblocks can be seen and undone at any time in your Settings,” Twitter said in its announcement.

“We’ll also regularly monitor the accuracy of our Safety Mode systems to make improvements to our detection capabilities,” it added.

What Does Safety Mode Aim to Address?

Twitter says that it developed the tool to better protect the individual on the receiving end of Tweets. Safety Mode is one way to limit overwhelming and unwelcome interactions on the platform.

According to its blog post, Twitter conducted several listening and feedback sessions with its trusted partners throughout the product development process.

The feedback from their partners, which includes Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council, helped improve the tool and look at ways to protect it from being misused.

Twitter has made changes in recent months to address the spread of disinformation and abuse on its site. Digital Human Rights Group Article 19 called Safety Mode “another step in the right direction towards making Twitter a safe place to participate in the public conversation without fear of abuse.”

If you’re curious to learn more about Twitter, and if you’ve ever wondered exactly what information the company collects about you, check out our detailed resource here.

Technology policy researcher
Prateek is a technology policy researcher with a background in law. His areas of interest include data protection, privacy, digital currencies, and digital literacy. Outside of his research interests, Prateek is an avid reader and is engaged in projects on sustainable farming practices in India.