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Reuters, Google’s Jigsaw, and Twitter team up on tool to limit “harassment” towards journalists

New auto-censorship tool.
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The Thomson Reuters Foundation, Google’s Jigsaw, and Twitter have collaborated to create TRFilter, a new tool that allows journalists to collect and manage incidents of “online abuse and harassment.”

According to AdWeek, the tool “syncs with a journalist’s Twitter account and uses machine learning technology to automatically recognize and flag harmful comments, and it offers users the options to block, mute, or save comments at scale, without manually reviewing them.” TRFilter also allows the creation of reports that users can download and send to third parties, like law enforcement.

Related: 🛡 Claiming that criticism is “harassment” is an increasingly prevalent gatekeeping tactic among journalists

The tool, available only on Twitter, also allows users to block or mute the source of abuse, as well as hide their replies on tweets.

According to Reuters, women reporters are the most affected by the issues that TRFilter is trying to solve, claiming that almost 25% of female journalists have received death and physical or sexual violence threats online, with most of the trolling aimed at silencing or discrediting them.

Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO Antonio Zappulla said in a statement, “After months of work alongside our partner, Jigsaw, I am excited to launch access to a tool that will empower journalists and media practitioners targeted by online violence around the world. Journalists’ mission of accurate and independent reporting is integral to the survival of a democratic society. It is imperative they have access to practical solutions that match the rapid evolution of the digital and legal warfare used to silence them.”

He added, “The foundation’s extensive experience of collaboration with global partners, combined with our unique ability to leverage the twin engines of media and the law, places us at the center of international expertise to support media freedom and defend human rights. We will continue to work tirelessly to protect journalists and the future of independent media to strengthen free, fair and informed societies.”

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