When trolls barge into people’s notifications with offensive replies or user names, those legitimate users might not keep coming back to Twitter. So today the company rolled out new tools to help you silence the riff-raff. There are now options to mute notifications from newly registered accounts, people you don’t follow and people who don’t follow you. These can be configured in the Notifications -> Settings -> Advanced Filters section of Twitter.
These additions follow Twitter’s March rollout of ways to silence people who haven’t added a profile picture or verified their email address or phone number. Twitter also recently required filtering new Direct Messages into a Requests folder.
The change comes amid Twitter denying The Washington Post‘s report that it’s working on ways to let people report fake news.
Twitter has been publicly urged to deal with its abuse problems for years now. But currently, Twitter’s strategy seems to be hiding the abuse from victims rather than aggressively exterminating the trolls that spew hate speech and threats.
Today’s changes won’t do anything to get rid of people trying to offend or scare away legitimate users. 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 realize 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.