Twitter users who have been subject to abuse and hate on the social media platform now have more control over the content they receive notifications for. On Tuesday, the micro-blogging website announced it was expanding the “mute” feature from accounts to keywords, phrases and conversations.
In a blog post titled “Progress on addressing online abuse,” Twitter said it had “seen a growing trend of people taking advantage of that openness and using Twitter to be abusive to others. … 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.”
In another article, Twitter explains how to use the new expanded feature. For starters, it must be pointed out that muting any content does not actually make the content invisible to you, it only mutes the notification of such content. If you search for it or happen to otherwise stumble upon it in your timeline, you will still see it. But you can customize the notifications you receive from Twitter, on the site, the app, email or however else the service notifies you.
To use the feature, you will need to add words or phrases to your Mute list by going to the settings in the Notifications tab. The process differs for different platforms, and is detailed on this page.
Muting is not case-sensitive. So if you choose to mute “troll,” its variants — TROLL, Troll, TrOlL and all other such — will also be muted. Muting a word will also mute its hashtag. Therefore, muting “troll” will also mute “#troll”. To mute a phrase, you can add punctuation between words. You can also mute emojis, as well as notifications from accounts by adding the “@” sign before the account name.
To mute conversations, go to the details of any message in the conversation you want to stop notifications for, choose the drop-down arrow icon in the apps or the dots for more options on the website, which will bring up the option to mute the conversation.
The feature is available across all languages supported by Twitter and words, phrases, emojis, hashtags or whatever else you choose to mute will stay that way till such time as you manually un-mute them.
Muting entire accounts is a simpler process, details for which can be found here.
Twitter received a lot of flak in recent months for not doing enough to curb online abuse, while also being criticized for being against free speech when it banned for life Milo Yiannopoulos, a Breitbart News employee accused of inciting hate speech against actress Leslie Jones.