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  • Meerelle Cruz

Twitter Testing More Helping Users Avoid App Negative Interactions

The abuse was a problem on Twitter, since its beginnings, the toxicity of the network has been a cause for ongoing debate and criticism. But Twitter worked to tackle this situation. After years of seemingly limited action, Twitter has launched several new options for control over the past 12 months. These include response controls to limit unwelcome commentators, potentially harmful or offensive response warnings, and safety mode, which warns users of negative attention when their tweets are being received.

These new features could have a major impact collectively – yet Twitter is not yet finished. Twitter this week has provided a preview of some new control tools that can help users prevent unwanted interactions and emotional anguish when their tweets are abused.

First, Twitter's new 'Filter' and 'Limit' tools are being developed which, as Twitter says, would help users to maintain potentially hazardous content – and the persons creating it – in replies. The new option would allow you, as you can see below, to automatically filter out responses that may have unpleasant statements or to users who tweet you regularly that you have never been contacted. You can also stop the same reports in the future from ever answering your tweets. More importantly than that, the Filter option would also make any response you choose to hide visible, except for the person tweeting them, which is comparable to the Hide option for postal comments from Facebook.

This is a major shift in strategy. Twitter has allowed users to conceal stuff from their views in the application until recently, but others can still see it. The filter control would enhance the power of each user to hide these comments altogether - which makes sense because they answer your tweets. But you may also imagine that politicians or corporations who wish to shut down unpleasant statements can exploit them.

This is certainly a bigger consideration on Twitter because the real-time nature of the platform brings about answers and interaction and challenges, especially relevant questions or newsworthy questions in some circumstances. Then, if people can cut off the dialogue, it can have its potential consequences, but then the initial tweet will still be there and users can still cite tweets, in theory.

It's certainly not a tremendous stretch, and with reply options available in the app, users could easily get rid of some of the trolls and crumbs that lurk in their response which can improve overall engagement in the app. Furthermore, Twitter is introducing a new 'Heads Up' notice prompt to notify users of possible split comments before they plunge in.

This could prevent you from entering a poisonous border and becoming a center of abuse unknowingly. The alert would also call on users to pay more attention to their tweeting process as you can see in the second screenshot. It is not likely to have a major effect on user behavior, but it might help to take greater account of it at least quickly.

Twitter also developed new 'Word Filters,' which is an expansion to its existing keyword blocks, to filter more potentially objectionable remarks using Twitter's automated detection technology. As you can see above, separate toggles would filter hatred, spam, and profanity automatically, depending on Twitter's system recognition, providing a different way of restricting undesired exposure in the app.

These appear to be good additions, and while there are always fears that individuals may use such instruments as blinders to block anything that they do not wish to accomplish, which might limit helpful talk and an important perspective, why not?

The ideal, of course, is a bright, smart debate on all issues, where people are always civil and respectful. But it's Twitter, which never happens. Therefore, the ideal way ahead would be to provide more control alternatives and have Twitter take more measures to address these critical factors.

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