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Discussion on: How do you think tech can better protect people from harassment? Answer for the chance to appear on the DevDiscuss podcast!

bradtaniguchi profile image

I believe a better way to cut down on online harassment and trolling, is to make trolling harder to find.

Take twitter for example, if a user "trolls" other user's often, instead of banning them you leave them in the system, but make it so their posts aren't shown to others unless they are sought out. This wont work for large scale popular people, but it should work for smaller scale cases over time.

In this sense trolling/harassment becomes more "hidden" to the general public.

No idea how practical such a system would be, but I've heard of similar approaches in other environments.

darkwiiplayer profile image

That's just shadowbanning, which is already being done by many platforms.

It sounds like a good feature at first, but it's actually a really bad idea, considering that it's a) easy to deny and b) hard to notice in the first place.

Combine that with how most of these shadowbans usually happen automatically or based on user flagging (both of which are far from perfect), and you have a perfect recipe for tons of people being excluded without their knowledge or any mechanism for complaining without any reason.

graciegregory profile image
Gracie Gregory (she/her) Author

Really interesting. Thanks for sharing! If you're interested in sharing these thoughts as a voice recording, we'd love to feature your voice on this episode! Instructions to share a recording above. It's super quick and simple :)

dmuth profile image
Douglas Muth

Yes, I believe the term Twitter uses is "Shadowban".

The key thing is that the user thinks they are successfully trolling, but isn't aware that their posts don't get the audience they used to get. Facebook does something similar, where groups which have a history of spreading fake news are promoted to other users by Facebook's algorithm less often.

onemightyone profile image
One Mighty.

As DarkWiiPlayer mentioned, many platforms are already doing this.

The root of the problem is being able to easily churn out another Twitter account.