Twitter now lets you avoid trolls by muting new users and strangers

Chief executive Jack Dorsey speaking on Twitter’s 10th anniversary last year. Picture: Esten Hurtle.

Twitter, in its latest step to curb abusive behavior on the platform, has introduced new features to help users disable notifications from accounts that they want to avoid.

The company said its “advanced filter settings” will now have options for users to mute notifications from accounts that they do not follow as well as from accounts that do not follow them. Users can also filter lower-quality content from notifications, such as content that appears to be automated and mute notifications related to certain words and phrases.

Twitter had said earlier this year that it would introduce new filtering options for notifications to allow users to limit what they see from certain types of accounts, such as those that do not have a profile photo. Twitter and Facebook have been facing criticism for failing to tackle cyber-bullying, fake news and extremist propaganda on their platforms.

“Today’s changes won’t do anything to get rid of people trying to offend or scare away legitimate users,” observed TechCrunch. “But at least the options could reduce the harm caused by jerks who often register new accounts to attack people, don’t always follow their victims and are rarely followed back.

“For Twitter to level-up beyond its current scale or impact, it must make itself usable by mainstream internet citizens. These are people who aren’t likely to configure deeply buried settings, understand user interface jargon, put up with vulgar trolling or immediately realise what the service is even for.

“Yet at Twitter’s core is a service valuable to everyone: the ability to consume a distilled, snackable perspective of the world from experts on every topics and participate in the discussion. Twitter’s challenge will be taking the necessary steps to make its app simple and safe enough, even if it means jostling its loyalists, and kicking out the spam bots and unsavory characters even as it’s trying to keep its user count growing.”