Twitter is reportedly developing a new tool to help curb its rampant harassment problem.
According to Bloomberg, Twitter is working on a feature that will let users block keywords to help fight abuse. Anonymous sources quoted in the report say the company has been discussing the idea internally for around a year, though it’s still not yet clear if and when such a tool will be rolled out.
According to the report, users would be able to set personal filters to avoid being shown tweets with racial or gender-based slurs. Additionally, it could also be used to simply avoid tweets about an event or trend.
If the assumption is accurate, the move is definitely a good thing for Twitter. Sure, it does nothing to curb harassment at the grassroots level – the offensive tweets aren’t removed or reported, simply “muted” – but it’s a step in the right direction. At least a user can feel like they can safely use Twitter without being bombarded with abuse, even if it might be going on without their knowledge. As for simply blocking a topic, it would definitely come in handy in certain extreme cases. We know more than one person who’s just about had their fill of Pokemon Go.
Unfortunately, if there’s anything internet trolls are known for, it’s dedication to their “craft”. If someone really REALLY wants to harass you, they’ll just make up new shorthands for slurs. Sadly, this tool does nothing for that problem. Here’s hoping Twitter has some more ideas to fight abuse in the future