Twitter is announcing a few new anti-harassment features today:
- You’ll now be able to mute specific words — including other usernames — from your timeline, not just your notifications. You can mute words indefinitely, or for a day, week or month.
- You’ll be able to mute “eggs.” That is, accounts that still use the default Twitter egg avatar because they haven’t uploaded profile photos or images. You’ll also be able to mute accounts without confirmed email addresses or phone numbers. This at least adds a few more steps for trolls to get through.
- Twitter is increasing proactive measures — “working to identify accounts as they’re engaging in abusive behavior, even if this behavior hasn’t been reported to us” — and taking action, such as allowing only a person’s direct followers to see their tweets for a specific period of time. This is the equivalent of a Twitter “timeout,” which some users first started reporting a couple of weeks ago.
- Twitter is trying to communicate more of the things it’s doing, including notifications if Twitter takes action after a harassment report, whether you report abuse that has happened to you or to another user.
These specific changes alone, obviously, aren’t going to stop harassment and bad behavior on Twitter. But it is good that Twitter is increasingly using a combination of its user community and its algorithms to curb abuse.
Mostly, it seems like a good sign that Twitter is finally increasing its cadence in addressing what has become one of its biggest problems.