Twitter Expands Mute Feature to Notifications, Updates Safety Initiatives

Twitter updated its efforts to enable users to avoid seeing abusive content and content they have no interest in, highlighted by expanding its mute feature to notifications.

Twitter updated its efforts to enable users to avoid seeing abusive content and content they have no interest in, highlighted by expanding its mute feature to notifications.

The social network said in a blog post that users will be able to mute keywords, phrases and entire conversations from their notifications, with the feature “rolling out to everyone in the coming days.”


Twitter added:

Our hateful conduct policy prohibits specific conduct that targets people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease. Today we’re giving you a more direct way to report this type of conduct for yourself, or for others, whenever you see it happening. This will improve our ability to process these reports, which helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse and helps to strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter.

And finally, on enforcement, we’ve retrained all of our support teams on our policies, including special sessions on cultural and historical contextualization of hateful conduct, and implemented an ongoing refresher program. We’ve also improved our internal tools and systems in order to deal more effectively with this conduct when it’s reported to us. Our goal is a faster and more transparent process.

We don’t expect these announcements to suddenly remove abusive conduct from Twitter. No single action by us would do that. Instead we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.


Twitter vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey spoke with Kurt Wagner of Recode, saying:

Not everyone has the same cultural background or framework to even be able to recognize why certain types of content or certain phrases or the like are actually abusive. A lot of times, what we found was (that) whoever got that initial report didn’t have that background to understand what the content was actually referencing.

I think that a lot of times, people assume that this is something Twitter either doesn’t care about or isn’t a priority, or that, “You only care because it’s about money.” I just would love for people to know that there are people at Twitter who are thinking about this constantly.

Readers: What are your thoughts on Twitter’s efforts to prevent abuse? David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.