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Will Twitter's Steps to Curb Hate Speech Revive User Growth?

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Twitter Inc. (TWTR) will introduce measures to check trolling on its platform within this week. Ed Ho, the vice president of engineering, in a series of tweets, said that in the coming days, Twitter will start "rolling out a number of product changes" and "tackle long overdue fixes to mute/block and stopping repeat offenders from creating new accounts." He also added that management is working on making Twitter a "safer platform" with utmost "urgency." He refrained from giving a detailed explanation on the type of "product changes" that the company is mulling on.

Twitter, Inc. Price and Consensus

Twitter, Inc. Price and Consensus | Twitter, Inc. Quote

Twitter has been trying to contain the trolling menace that has plagued its platform for long now and has possibly kept potential users as well as buyers at bay. Women, minorities as well the LGBT community often have been the target of ridicule on the platform.

Reportedly, in January this year, a number of LGBT groups launched a campaign to urge Twitter to deal with the "homophobic" abuses posted on the social media site. Last year, Twitter found itself in trouble after African American actress, Leslie Jones was brutally trolled on the platform, prompting her to quit for some time. However, Twitter took swift action after Jones' complaint and banned several users for lifetime including Breitbart technology editor Milo Yiannopoulos. Also, Twitter took down accounts of several so called "alt-right" to curb hateful conduct on its platform.

Apart from taking down accounts of offenders, Twitter also announced several measures to combat trolling. Twitter improvised the "mute" button, which will enable users to block tweets that contain objectionable words, phrases and conversations from their notification tabs. Plus, the company empowered users by giving them a "more direct way of reporting" hateful conduct. Any Twitter user can now report any hateful conduct that they come across on the platform. Per Twitter, this "helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse, and helps to strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter." The company said that it is also "retraining" its staff to better tackle abusive behavior on the platform.

Twitter is going through one of the toughest phases in its corporate history. User growth is sluggish and advertising revenues are decelerating. Amid this entire fracas, the exodus of high profile executives continues. In the past one year, shares of Twitter declined 5.70% as against 9.91% rise in the Zacks Internet Software industry. Its CEO Jack Dorsey's focus on "live" and user friendly changes hasn't yet moved the needle for Twitter.

To top it, the widely expected takeover didn't materialize with the interested parties ranging from Alphabet to Salesforce to The Walt Disney Company pulling out last minute, given the plethora of challenges that Twitter faces besides trolling.

To top it, the widely expected takeover didn't materialize with the interested parties ranging from Alphabet GOOGL to Salesforce to The Walt Disney Company DIS pulling out last minute, given the plethora of challenges that Twitter faces besides trolling.

Will Twitter's new fixes help revive user growth? It remains a wait and see story.

At present, Twitter carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the wider technology space is Oclaro Inc. OCLR carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Notably, in the trailing four quarters, Oclaro has generated a positive average earnings surprise of 100%.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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