Twitter will now let users avoid seeing tweets with specific words or phrases
For years, Twitter has faced criticism for the sheer amount of harassment and abuse people on the network hurl at each other. Much to the chagrin of its users and ailing stockholders though, progress on this front has been slow.
But on Tuesday Twitter began rolling out a significant update that is meant to address abuse on the platform. It’s a feature that will allow users to hide “keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations” that they don’t want to see. Additionally, the company said in a blog post that Twitter is creating a new, “more direct way” to report hateful conduct, and it has “retrained all of [its] support teams” on how to handle reports of hateful conduct.
— Matt Navarra ⭐️ 🇬🇧 (@MattNavarra) November 15, 2016
Twitter has been notably slow to adopt safety-minded changes to its service. Instagram introduced a similar comment filter earlier this year, and anti-online abuse advocates have long pushed for Twitter to introduce these and other safety features.
Reactions to the changes announced today have so far been mixed. Some laud it as a much-needed, if small, step toward dealing with Twitter’s abuse problem. Others think it’s a skin-deep change to the way Twitter works.
imagine drafting a mute list to include ~all~ possible spellings/word choices pic.twitter.com/804idRqn0w
— Melanie Ehrenkranz (@MelanieHannah) November 15, 2016
Mute threads! Finally. I've 20 other items on wish list. 😀Ability to mute someone tagging me responding to a tweet I marked as "targeting". https://t.co/CssJLm0Ptx
— Zeynep Tufekci (@zeynep) November 15, 2016
Twitter doesn't understand it's hate problem – Rolls Out meaningless Anti-Harassment Tools https://t.co/soWiEIYU7A
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) November 15, 2016
Twitter's new anti-harassment tools don't really prevent harassment—they just make it easier to ignore harassment. https://t.co/ypeaoeZQaC
— Kevin Nguyen (@knguyen) November 15, 2016