Fighting trolls on the web is an everlasting battle, but Twitter’s been on a bit of a roll with features to keep the haters at bay. The company is today adding the ability to mute notifications from new users and people who don’t follow you.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) July 10, 2017
That builds upon the updates released in March, with which you could ignore users you don’t follow, who haven’t confirmed their phone or email, and who haven’t set a profile photo.
Muting users with new accounts is a particularly welcome addition: One of the most common moves by people who have nothing better to do with their lives is creating a new “burner” account just so they can harass others. Meanwhile, muting users who don’t follow you cant at least keep your feed a little tidier if you have a lot of followers.
I’ve got to hand it to Twitter; it’s come a long way in the last couple of years. Harassment was once so rampant on the platform that ex-CEO Dick Costolo said “we suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we’ve sucked at it for years.”
Since then, Twitter has added tools to mute specific words, started using AI to identify hateful speech, made blocking users more effective, made it easier to file police reports, has been swinging the banhammer with greater efficacy, and more. The platform’s public nature makes it particularly tough to strike a balance between free speech and policing; there’s still room to grow, but Twitter’s improvements are worth acknowledging.