3 Reasons Why Twitter is So Toxic – And How you Can Protect Yourself

Twitter is a jungle of news, opinions, and thoughts. It has more than 353.1 million users and 206 million daily active users worldwide. With celebrities, politicians and the general public using the platform, chances of online harassment are higher. According to a Statistica report, 44 percent of internet users are found to have personally experienced online harassment of any kind. Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why is Twitter so toxic and the best ways to deal with it:

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1.Fake News and Misinformation 

During the 2016 presidential elections in the US, fake news on the popular social media platform- Twitter became a cause of public concern. Probe into the matter reveals that most often such attacks are made by Twitter bots. 

Twitter has been trying to tackle misinformation on its platforms by rolling out new policies, monitoring and blocking offensive posts, and testing new features that allow users to report tweets that are misleading

However, it is still a long way to go until the social platform completely becomes a safe online space to voice opinions.

2.Limited Character Count

While a 280-character limit is the defining feature of Twitter, it can also be considered one of the reasons why is Twitter so toxic. The limited character count that users get to voice their opinion can often lead to incomplete thoughts on the platform, creating confusion and misunderstanding.

It can also give rise to propaganda when incomplete tweets from politicians or celebrities are misconstrued. While people have found a way around it and continue to voice their complete thoughts in a Twitter thread, most people may not bother reading the whole thing. This can easily lead to online harassment and trolling.

3.Increased Trolling and Hate Speech

Social media platforms are not devoid of trolling and to that Twitter is no exception. Its limited character count and the fact that people can type away hiding behind a screen, together make it grounds for increased trolling and hate speech. 

A useful feature on Twitter, twitter lists allows users to create a public or private feed of tweets from the users added on that list. This allows people to curate lists for topics they are interested to follow. 

However, some users use Twitter lists to target and harass women online. Sometimes, the lists names may be harmless but at other times they could be outright hateful. These reasons together create the ground for toxicity on Twitter. 

Now you understand why is Twitter so toxic, let’s learn how to deal with it. 

How to Deal with Twitter Toxicity?

If you are a Twitter user, you can use various tools and plugins to keep yourself safe from online abuse on the platform. An app such as Block Together allows users to block accounts. They can then share those lists with others as well, so they can block those accounts for their profiles. 

Twitter Block Chain, a google chrome plugin is another effective tool that allows blocking all the profiles following a particular account. Twitter users can block and mute accounts as well as mute words and notifications. 

Muting words will not display any content containing those words while tweets from muted accounts won’t show on your feed. 

How to Block or Mute an Account

To block or mute an account, simply click the three vertical dots next to the tweet and select the mute or block option: 

How to Mute Words and Hashtags

To mute words and hashtags, follow the steps below: 

  1. Click “more” on the left-side panel and then select “settings and privacy”
  1. Select “privacy and safety” and then click “mute and block”
  1. Click on “muted words” and then the “plus” icon to add words and hashtags you want to mute
  1. You can choose where you’d like to mute the words from and for how long. Don’t forget to click “save” in the end. 

Any further changes to these settings are also made from the “mute and block” settings tab. 

For businesses however, Twitter trolling could be difficult to manage. Here’s a few suggestions to handle it effectively:

Think Hard Before You React 

For twitter trolls and harrassers, it is much easier to type out a series of tweets than to visit a store to voice their irrational opinions and consequently face action. They just want to get under your skin. 

It’s almost a reflex action to reply to the tweets of angry customers. However, take a moment to think and avoid stooping to their level. Anything you say online is a reflection of your brand voice, so its important to strategically plan your response. 

Have An Action Plan To Respond To Twitter Abuse

Some tweets can be just hurtful while others can be an outright threat. Just as a company has an action plan to handle physical threats on their premises, there should be an action plan to handle online threats and abuse as well. Having a strategy in place will help you deal with Twitter abuse and threats much more effectively.

Be Human and Don’t be Afraid 

It is almost impossible for any business to engage with their audience online without getting in controversy and inviting trolls and harrassers. Often times, they’re just out to test whether they’ll actually get a response. By not ignoring and responding in a human way, businesses can gain customer empathy and turn the tide in their favor.

Another important thing to keep in mind is to not be afraid to interact with Twitter trolls. Twitter is a great marketing tool and keeping away can only limit your business potential. Instead, learn to respond to angry customers, thank them for their insight or show them a solution. It’s always better to deal with a situation than running away from it. 

Ask for Contact Information 

If you deal with an angry customer on Twitter the way you deal with any customer service issue, chances are you can handle it more effectively. Ask for their contact information to respond and resolve the issue.

Cyberbullies when put on spot to give their name and contact information to handle their concern can stop complaining. It may not work every single time but most likely it will with customers who are reacting out of a genuine concern. 

As a business you can use Twitter in a number of ways to leverage its potential to your advantage. However, sometimes you will face trolls and abusers. Its better to have a strategy to deal with them than avoiding the platform altogether. 

You can use Notifier to keep track of all conversations and mentions related to your business, so that you can respond in a timely and effective manner. It helps you keep on top of your marketing strategy as well. 

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