Social Media

Twitter Seems To Be Working On Anti-Harassment Tools

The unannounced feature, which leaked briefly, allowed users to block certain words and phrases from their timelines

Social Media
Illustration: Diana Quach
Oct 31, 2016 at 3:34 PM ET

Twitter is reportedly testing a “muted words” feature that would allow users to filter certain words and phrases from their timelines. This feature could theoretically make Twitter a more pleasant experience for a lot of users.

The mute feature appeared for some users on the iOS app over the weekend, but Twitter seems to have quickly disabled it. TheNextWeb reports that according to a source, it is a feature that Twitter is going to add to the app, it was just activated ahead of time. Here’s what a couple of users noticed:

So if you’re sick of hearing about the election, you could block “Trump,” “Clinton,” “deplorables,” and so forth. The specifics of how it will work are still vague, given the amount of time the feature was in the wild, but it would most likely mean that you’d stop seeing tweets that include those phrases and hashtags in your timeline.

This is one way Twitter, which has been under fire for months over its moderation policies, may be trying to improve the experience for people who are subject to online abuse. Leslie Jones was one high-profile example of Twitter’s inability (or unwillingness) to handle an offensive pile-on in a timely manner. There’s already a mute feature where you can block certain accounts from your timeline without having to actually block them, but if Twitter intends to move forward with this feature, it will take things a significant step further.