Twitter Safer Internet Day 2016
Twitter has long been criticised for not doing enough to pretect its users from harassment and bullyingReuters

Twitter has established a new safety council that is to work with the company to tackle harassment and abuse on its social network. The Trust and Safety Council will monitor Twitter in the effort to prevent harmful content as well as provide support for mental health and suicide prevention.

The council is formed of more than 40 specialist organisations from around the world, including mental health charity the Samaritans, the Safer Internet Centre, Feminist Frequency and Childnet. Patricia Cartes, Twitter's head of global policy outreach, said the aim was to provide more tools and policies that would enable its users to express themselves freely without fear of reprisal.

"With hundreds of millions of tweets sent per day, the volume of content on Twitter is massive, which makes it extraordinarily complex to strike the right balance between fighting abuse and speaking truth to power," said Cartes. "It requires a multi-layered approach where each of our 320 million users has a part to play, as do the community of experts working for safety and free expression."

The formation of the council coincides with Safer Internet Day 2016 and follows vows from Twitter to do more to combat abusive behaviour on its network.

Twitter takes the fight to internet trolls

In December last year, Twitter introduced new measures that meant any account seen to be engaging in hateful or harmful conduct would be shut down. Last week, the company suspended more than 125,000 accounts said to be linked to Islamic State (Isis).

Twitter has been heavily criticised for not doing enough to crack down on internet trolls, with former CEO Dick Costolo himself admitting that the company "sucked" at dealing with abuse on the platform. Facebook has been making similar efforts to curb harmful content on its network. Last month, the company launched a £1m (€1.3m, $1.4m) campaign to counter extremist posts on its website.

The EU-wide Civil Courage Online campaign was launched in response to a rise in racist and xenophobic content on Facebook's German site, which has been linked to the recent influx of refugees in the country.