Twitter announced that it's expanding mute filters to notifications in an attempt to help curb abuse on its platform.
The social media site previously allowed its users to "mute" tweets from people with whom they didn't want to interact. Now it's allowing users to select keywords, phrases, and entire conversations about which they prefer not to be notified. The result: Twitter will no longer send push notifications, emails, or text messages when abusers tweet at their intended victims, which means the company will make it harder for harassment to happen on its platform.
This update is part of a broader attempt by Twitter to grapple with some of its most toxic users. The company also said that it has made it easier for users to report abusive tweets, retrained its support staff to help them recognize harassment, and improved the internal tools used to respond to these complaints. All together, these changes represent Twitter's continued efforts to make its platform seem more welcoming to users who fear harassment.
The company knows it hasn't always done a good job in that regard. Here's what it said in the announcement:
Because Twitter happens in public and in real-time, we’ve had some challenges keeping up with and curbing abusive conduct. We took a step back to reset and take a new approach, find and focus on the most critical needs, and rapidly improve. There are three areas we’re focused on, and happy to announce progress around today: controls, reporting, and enforcement.
These changes come hot on the heels of Twitter announcing that it has big changes planned for its service. The company said that it had new safety features planned for November and, well, here we are. Some of the other changes--like shuttering Vine, the six-second video service--have also come to fruition. But others, like updating the social network to be more approachable to new users, have yet to make it out of the company's development lab.
Here's Twitter's overview for the expanded mute filters:
Muting is case-insensitive. For example:If you add “CATS” to your mute list, any mention of “cats” will be muted from your notifications.You can include punctuation within a word or phrase when muting. Punctuation at the end of a word or phrase is not necessary.Muting a word will mute both the word itself and its hashtag. For example:If you mute “unicorn”, both “unicorn” and “#unicorn” will be muted from your notifications.To mute Tweet notifications that mention a particular account, you must include the @ sign before the name. Doing this will mute Tweet notifications that mention that account, but won’t mute notifications from the account itself. Learn about how to mute accounts here. Words, phrases, usernames, emojis, and hashtags up to 140 characters can be muted.Muting is possible across all Twitter-supported languages.Muting cannot be set for a particular time period. Words and phrases will remain muted until manually deleted from your settings.You can view a list of your muted words (and unmute them) in your settings.
People can use these new mute filters via Twitter's apps for Android and iOS as well as the service's website. It's not clear when the feature will be available to all users on all platforms, however, because at the time of writing I was unable to use mute filters via the Twitter website. But chances are good that the feature is rolling out at different times around the world, so don't be surprised if it suddenly appears in your Twitter client of choice.