Twitter Is Now Warning Users That Accounts ‘May Include Potentially Sensitive Content’

Is this the next step in Twitter's efforts to thwart trolling and offensive content?

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Twitter’s efforts to combat trolling and offensive content may soon be expanded to cover entire accounts.

Ariel Bogle of Mashable reported that one of her colleagues clicked on the profile of technology analyst Justin Warren and saw the following message (the same thing happened when I clicked on it):

Caution: This profile may include potentially sensitive content.

You’re seeing this warning because they tweet potentially sensitive images or language. Do you still want to view it?

Clicking on “Yes, view profile” provided full access to the account’s content.

Bogle tweeted Warren to ask if he knew that his account was marked as “potentially sensitive,” and Warren replied that he did not, speculating that swearing may have triggered the action by Twitter.

A Twitter spokesperson confirmed that this feature is being tested “as part of our continued work to make Twitter safer.”

The Twitter Help Center page on Reporting Sensitive Media includes the following information:

What happens to sensitive media I report?

The Twitter team reviews reports of media flagged by users to determine if that media requires a warning message in order to comply with Twitter’s media policies. Please remember that by flagging media you are bringing it to the attention of the Twitter team. The flagged content will not automatically receive a warning message or be removed from the site.

And the Twitter Media Policy Help Center page was apparently updated to reflect the feature being tested by the social network:

What if I don’t change my media settings and post sensitive media?

If one of your tweets containing media is reported as sensitive, it will be sent to the Twitter team for review. If we find that the media wasn’t marked as being potentially sensitive at the time of the upload:

  • We label the media as being potentially sensitive, or in the case of live video, remove the content entirely.
  • We may also change your account setting to “Mark media I tweet as containing material that may be sensitive” so that future posts are marked accordingly.
  • You will receive an email letting you know that we’ve labeled your media and if we changed your media setting. You will be able to change your media settings on your account settings page, though this image and any other images that have been labeled will remain marked as potentially sensitive.

If you repeatedly upload media that are mislabeled, the Twitter team will:

  • Label your media as having potentially sensitive content.
  • Permanently adjust your account setting to “Mark media I tweet as containing material that may be sensitive” so that your future posts have a warning message users must click through before viewing your media.

Last week, the social network began enabling users to activate three notifications filters, which mute notifications from accounts without profile pictures, verified email addresses or verified phone numbers.

In February, Twitter began handing out 12-hour time-outs to users who engaged in “potentially abusive behavior,” and only followers of those accounts can see their activity during that 12-hour period.

And earlier that month, the social network made good on late-January promises from vice president of engineering Ed Ho, introducing a host of safety features—a safe search tool that excludes results from users who are blocked or muted; identifying and collapsing tweets that are “potentially abusive and low-quality”; and steps to prevent banned users from rejoining Twitter.

Screenshots courtesy of Ariel Bogle, Mashable. David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.