Twitter just made a big (if momentary) blunder when it comes to fighting abuse. The social network briefly stopped providing notifications whenever someone adds you to a list, ostensibly to make sure you only see the “notifications that matter.” However, it quickly backtracked when users pointed out that this only made harassment easier. Hate groups could build their hit lists in secret, leaving targets woefully unaware until the threatening tweets were already on the way.
We’ve asked Twitter for comment will let you know what it says. Whatever the response, the about-face suggests that Twitter is still struggling to understand the nature of abuse on its service. The issue isn’t usually that people see notifications they don’t like, it’s that harassers are sometimes free to run amok until they become particularly reprehensible. When you know that you’re on a harassment-oriented list, you have a better shot at reporting abuse before it becomes completely unbearable.
We heard your feedback – this was a misstep. We’re rolling back the change and we’ll keep listening. https://t.co/9ozPS4XlVI
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 13, 2017