Twitter looks to toughen rules on online harassment, abuse

(Reuters) – Twitter Inc plans to toughen its rules on online sexual harassment and impose stronger penalties for misconduct, according to an email it sent to a group of safety advocates, academics and researchers that helps the social media service set its policies.

The new rules, which will likely be introduced in the next few weeks, are aimed at tackling one of Twitter’s biggest and long-lasting problems. They follow a series of tweets by Chief Executive Jack Dorsey on Friday announcing plans to act more aggressively to limit the number of bullies and harassers using Twitter.

The new guidelines include immediate and permanent suspensions of any account Twitter identifies as the original poster or source of non-consensual nudity. The site’s definition of non-consensual nudity will also be expanded to include what it called “upskirt imagery, creep shots and hidden camera content.”

The rules were set out in a letter, which was seen by Reuters, to Twitter’s Trust and Safety Council from Twitter’s head of safety policy.

The micro-blogging platform is also looking to allow bystanders to report unwanted sexual advances, which previously had to be reported by users directly involved in the situation.

It also promised to publish more details on a change in policy which would include hate symbols and imagery in its definition of sensitive media.

Dorsey’s pledge to revamp Twitter’s guidelines came after some users boycotted the service for suspending actress Rose McGowan, who spoke out against Harvey Weinstein, the producer who faces allegations that he sexually harassed or assaulted a number of women over three decades in the film business. Weinstein has denied having non-consensual sex with anyone.

Twitter also faces scrutiny from lawmakers investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Last week, Twitter gave Senate investigators the profile names of 201 accounts it had determined were linked to an effort by Moscow to sow discord and divisiveness during and after the campaign, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee investigating Russian interference, previously called Twitter’s cooperation as “frankly inadequate.”

Reporting by Angela Moon in New York and Arjun Panchadar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Dustin Volz in Washington DC; editing by Patrick Graham

Tech

Venmo Users: You’re About to Be Able to Use the App to Shop Online

Millennials who split the bill can split bills at many more sites.

PayPal announced a massive expansion for use of its Venmo payments app popular with millennials. The app grew as a quick way for customers to send each other money, but starting this week, Venmo users can also pay for e-commerce purchases with the app on millions of mobile retailing sites such as Lululemon and Foot Locker.

PayPal is leveraging its relationships to take payments with its main namesake service at about 2 million online retailers to expand the usefulness of Venmo, which it acquired in its $ 800 million purchase of startup Braintree in 2013. With the mobile checkout update, Venmo users can make a purchase on their phone at any retailer’s site that accepts PayPal, either with funds stashed in the app or split among other Venmo users.

“Now, Venmo’s ready for our favorite autumn to-do—holiday shopping. (Seriously, it’s never too early for presents. Or candy corn.),” Ashley Phillips, Venmo’s lead product manager for commerce, joked in a blog post announcing the new feature.

Analysts said the move should help expand Venmo’s market presence, which accounted for $ 8 billion worth of transactions in the second quarter, about double the amount from the prior year. Although Venmo doesn’t generate much actual revenue for PayPal yet, its transaction volume is growing considerably faster than the company’s overall volume, which increased 23% to $ 106 billion in the second quarter. The added usefulness also helps Venmo fend off new competitive threats, as Apple aapl is adding person-to-person payments to its mobile payments system.

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“Consumers simply want to move dollars from one place to another whether that means sending those dollars to a friend or a merchant,” said James Wester, a payments analyst at IDC. “So it’s smart for PayPal to make Venmo more useful by expanding the opportunities for consumers to use it to move their dollars.”

The expansion is reminiscent of how PayPal pypl successfully expanded when it was bought by eBay ebay , noted analyst Brendan Miller at Forrester Research. Users often had money sitting in their PayPal accounts after selling something on the site, so PayPal enabled them to spend the money more easily directly on the site as well, without needing to shift it to a bank account.

“It’s huge,” Miller said. “Money is sitting in all these Venmo accounts and now they can burn it off and it doesn’t have to get moved back to a savings account or a checking account.”

Tech