Twitter beefs up its mute tools and abuse policies to help you proactively silence trolls

Don't feed the trolls.

Twitter is bulking up its tools to combat online hate and harassment. In recent months, critics have called out Twitter for not doing enough to stop online abuse. Now Twitter is fighting back against the growing impression that social the network is becoming far too vitriolic.

First up: An expansion of Twitter’s mute tool that will be rolling out in the coming days. The new filtering will allow users greater control over what ends up in their notifications section by preventing specific keywords, phrases, and even flagged conversation threads from landing in their notifications.

Prior to the update, muting only silenced specific users. That worked well enough until people started using multiple accounts to gang up and harass others. That meant victims of the abuse either had to endlessly block meaningless accounts or walk away from Twitter until the harassment died down.

Notification filtering should provide at least give some relief from targeted harassment, but just as with the quality filters announced in August the new mute filters effectively puts the abused in a bubble. All that hate and bile will still be out there—the targets of that abuse just can’t see it.

That’s where Twitter’s next tool comes in: the ability to more accurately report hateful speech. Rolling out Tuesday, Twitter’s options to report a tweet as abusive or harmful are now slightly (but critically) more expansive. Twitter added the ability to report a tweet for directing “hate against a race, religion, gender, or orientation.” Previously, and rather unbelievably, that option wasn’t available. Again, this tool will only go so far as some users must deal with an avalanche of hate from those who wish to silence them.

Finally, Twitter is doing a little behind the scenes work to improve the way it enforces anti-abuse rules. “We’ve retrained all of our support teams on our policies... implemented an ongoing refresher program. We’ve also improved our internal tools and systems in order to deal more effectively with this conduct when it’s reported to us,” Twitter said in its blog post.

The story behind the story: Twitter took a long time to offer more forceful tools to deal with hate and intolerance on its platform. That was likely due to the company’s longstanding ethos of being the “free speech wing of the free speech party”—a viewpoint that instills an understandable reluctance to silence others, yet can also create a blind spot when it comes to online harassment and abuse. Nevertheless, there are now some basic tools in place for those who need them.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?