Turn on Twit­ter’s fil­ters and si­lence trolls

Twit­ter has a so­lu­tion for stop­ping the hate: put trolls in cones of si­lence. Ian Paul shows how

PC Advisor - - CONTENTS -

Twit­ter has fi­nally come up with a so­lu­tion to muz­zle trolls. The com­pany re­cently an­nounced two new con­trols for fil­ter­ing your no­ti­fi­ca­tions. These are the pri­mary method through which trolls can con­tact and ha­rass users.

The first of these set­tings re­duces the noise in your no­ti­fi­ca­tions stream. By de­fault, any­one who men­tions your Twit­ter user­name with the ‘@’ sym­bol shows up in your no­ti­fi­ca­tions. It doesn’t mat­ter if they’re ask­ing a sim­ple ques­tion, of­fer­ing con­struc­tive crit­i­cism or threat­en­ing to shoot you. Every­one is there.

The new set­ting fil­ters your no­ti­fi­ca­tion down to peo­ple you fol­low and works on the so­cial net­work’s apps and web­site. It’s not yet clear whether third-party Twit­ter apps can also ap­ply it.

Many users don’t have a need for this kind of fil­ter­ing, but for those that do Twit­ter no­ti­fi­ca­tions can be a dark place, where per­sonal threats and other ob­jec­tion­able com­ments from ran­dom Twit­ter users are com­mon­place. The new fil­ters will make the net­work a more hos­pitable place for any­one who wants to speak their mind with­out hav­ing to sort through a del­uge of hate.

The un­for­tu­nate side ef­fect, how­ever, is that peo­ple who are be­ing tar­geted are ef­fec­tively putting them­selves in a bub­ble. In other words, the long-held idea of us­ing Twit­ter as a place to chat and share ideas with strangers will be over.

It’s all about qual­ity

The sec­ond new set­ting is a qual­ity fil­ter. This fil­ter, which was turned on by de­fault for our ac­count, re­moves what Twit­ter calls ‘lower-qual­ity con­tent’. This low-brow stuff can be things such as du­pli­cate tweets or bot-gen­er­ated con­tent. The qual­ity fil­ter af­fects your no­ti­fi­ca­tions and ‘other parts of your Twit­ter ex­pe­ri­ence’. Pre­sum­ably, that means your pri­mary timeline. The low-qual­ity fil­ter doesn’t re­strict peo­ple you fol­low or those whom you’ve re­cently in­ter­acted with.

Turn on the new set­tings

Get­ting to the new set­tings is easy on Twit­ter’s web­site. First log in to the ser­vice and then click on the No­ti­fi­ca­tions tab. To the right of your men­tions, click the new Set­tings link.

Al­ter­na­tively, you can nav­i­gate di­rectly to twit­ter.com/set­tings/ no­ti­fi­ca­tion­s_­time­line. This set­tings area has two check­boxes for fil­ter­ing your tweets by peo­ple you fol­low as well as ap­ply­ing the qual­ity fil­ter. Check or uncheck which­ever box you’d like, se­lect Save changes and you’re done. Ac­cess­ing these set­tings via Twit­ter’s mo­bile apps is sim­i­lar. Mo­bile users should also tap on No­ti­fi­ca­tions and then tap the set­tings cog in that area, which takes you di­rectly to the two new fil­ters.

If you don’t see the new set­tings they may not yet be avail­able for your ac­count. Try up­dat­ing your mo­bile apps or log­ging in to the web­site.

If you ap­ply the fil­ter to only al­low men­tions from peo­ple you fol­low, it’s ad­vis­able to make sure your ac­count re­stricts who can send you di­rect mes­sages. You can dou­ble-check this set­ting on Twit­ter.com by go­ing to Set­tings > Se­cu­rity and pri­vacy.

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