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(Photo via Flickr/KevinKrejci).
(Photo via Flickr/KevinKrejci).

Twitter is stepping up its efforts to deal with abuse within the social network.

Twitter announced a new set of tools that expand the ability for users to “mute” accounts they don’t want to interact with and report instances of “hateful conduct.” Twitter also said it is retraining its staff on company policies, with specific sessions related to hateful conduct.

“The amount of abuse, bullying, and harassment we’ve seen across the Internet has risen sharply over the past few years,” Twitter wrote in a blog post. “These behaviors inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere.”

Twitter followed up its new pledge to take a strong stance on harassment by banning several prominent alt-right accounts, including the verified account of Richard Spencer, head of the National Policy Institute, a white nationalist think tank.

In response to his ban, Spencer said in a YouTube video, “I am alive physically but digitally speaking there has been execution squads across the alt-right. There is a great purge going on and they are purging people based on their views.”

Twitter has made several efforts in the past to curb online harassment. Last year, it put in place tools to temporarily lock accounts and make it easier to report threatening speech to law enforcement agencies. Twitter made stopping online harassment and abuse one of its top priorities for 2016.

Twitter has struggled to grow its user base as fast as competitors like Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram. Additionally, the company last month confirmed that it planned to cut approximately 9 percent of its workforce, or about 350 people.

Twitter has explored a sale, but has so far failed to find bidders. Disney was a potential suitor, but it was reportedly turned off by bullying and abuse that occurs on Twitter.

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