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Twitter is letting all users filter out trolls from their notifications

Engadget Engadget 18/08/2016 Nathan Ingraham
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Twitter has been failing to deal with abuse on its platform for a good long time now, but it seems like the company might finally be taking some substantive action. Twitter just posted a blog detailing two new features as part of its notification settings that should be rolling out to all users soon. The first is a so-called "quality filter" that attempts to reduce unpleasant or abusive @ mentions you might receive. Twitter says it filters out tweets based on a variety of factors including "account origin and behavior."

The company says it'll remove "low quality" tweets like duplicate tweets or automated content, but it doesn't specifically mention abusive language. However, when the company rolled out the quality filter for verified users last year, removing abusive tweets was definitely one of its use cases. It isn't bulletproof, but if you post something that the trolls of the internet latch on to and won't let go, turning on the quality filter is definitely worth a shot.

The other new option will only show you notifications and @ messages from people you already follow. It'll make your Twitter experience a little more insular, but sometimes that can be a very good thing. Both of these new features are available in the mobile app and on Twitter's website.

These new features come at a time when Twitter is increasingly besieged by a reputation for harboring racist, sexist and otherwise abusive users under the guise of "free speech." Most recently, Ghostbusters and Saturday Night Live star Leslie Jones had to put up with a barrage of racist remarks, led by notorious troll Milo Yiannopoulos. Twitter eventually banned Yiannopoulos, but not before Jones briefly quit Twitter altogether. She came back and has since used her platform to help defend US Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas from similar abuse.

These new features likely won't solve Twitter's problems, but they're a step in the right direction -- albeit a step the company should have taken years ago. The features aren't live for everyone yet, but Twitter says they'll be rolling out in the next few days. And the company also indicates it's working on more features to help improve the experience users have on Twitter.


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