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
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.