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Twitter adds mute feature to conversations and hashtags in anti-harassment push

Updated Nov 15th, 2016 12:16PM EST
Twitter Mute Vs Block
Image: Twitter

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Twitter has a long history of lacking basic usability tools and filters to prevent harassment, but a brand new feature rolling out today could help change that. The company just announced several big tweaks to its “mute” feature that can silence entire conversations, words, and even hashtags.

Up until now, you could mute individuals on Twitter to prevent them from bombarding your timeline with annoying notifications and abuse, but it still allowed others to pile onto that same conversation thread. Users with large followings could essentially highlight an individual’s tweet and know that their followers would jump into the thread and shout down the opposition, even if they themselves were muted.

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The new advanced muting feature takes this vulnerability into account, and provides the option to mute the entire conversation, preventing the kind of brigading that has become commonplace on the social network. You can mute a conversation by tapping on the three dot “more” icon next to a conversation thread and toggle “Mute Conversation.”

Additionally, Twitter added the ability to mute keywords and hashtags. When muted, no tweets containing those words or phrases will appear in your mentions. To add or remove a word or phrase to your block list, just head into your account settings and tap the “Muted Words” tab.

Along with the announcement of the new muting features, Twitter announced that it has retrained its entire support staff to better empathize with users based on the historical and cultural context of specific types of hate speech. The company has also sped up the reporting and review process so that reports of abuse will be addressed more rapidly.