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July 11, 2017

Twitter adds to list of mute options to help counter abusive behavior

by John_A

Why it matters to you

To keep Twitter a safe space, the company is giving users more options for muting specific accounts to filter out abusive behavior.

In an effort to give users more control over their notifications, Twitter announced new advanced filter settings from specific types of accounts you want to avoid altogether. The platform — which released the new features on Monday — now allows you to mute anyone with a new account and people who do not follow you.

The option to mute on Twitter has been ongoing since 2015,  which initially gave users the option to no longer receive push notifications from a particular user without them knowing. It was basically the perfect solution to subtly removing someone from your timeline without taking greater measures like blocking or unfollowing them.

Muted users can still retweet, reply to your tweets, or favorite them but you do not receive a notification about the activity. In 2016, Twitter added the option to mute keywords, phrases, and conversations to help counter abuse that occurs over social media.

But it was in March that the company took muting to an entirely new level based heavily on safety, by using algorithms to identify abusive behavior. The options were the first batch of advanced filters that allow you to mute notifications from accounts that do not have a profile picture, ones that have not verified their email address or phone number, and people you don’t follow.

To alter all six of these settings on your Twitter app for both iOS and Android, simply go to the notifications tab, tap on the settings icon in the upper righthand corner, and select advanced filters. You will see the entire list of specific types of accounts along with a toggle control to turn the mute feature on or off. For a web browser, click on the notifications timeline, settings, and then click to turn on the preferred filters.

The company revealed it was using machine learning after the backlash Twitter received through placing temporary timeouts on particular accounts — which limited people outside of the offender’s followers from seeing their tweets. Some users complained the automated keyword filter the company used was not completely accurate and might have been prone to mishaps. Ultimately, flagging accounts that should not have been placed on hold in the first place.

However, the company made it clear that it is learning from its mistakes. In an effort to make Twitter a safe space where people can express themselves freely, the platform encourages user feedback to take into account for future updates.




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