Twitter can be a cesspool of bullying, which CEO Dick Costolo admitted in an internal memo has cost the microblogging platform users. Over the past few months, however, the company has taken several major steps to stop trolls. The latest is a new “quality filter” that lets verified users weed out problematic tweets from their notifications.
The feature was spotted by tech blogger and entrepreneur Anil Dash earlier today.
Well, that’s an interesting & welcome addition, Twitter! (Was prompted about this on opening the app.) pic.twitter.com/Ka2VDvqwNf
— Anil Dash (@anildash) March 23, 2015
Twitter told TechCrunch that the feature is currently rolling out to verified users on iOS, and the process appears to be ongoing (I have a verified account but still haven’t spotted the quality filter in my settings yet). We’ve asked for more information on when it will be available to other users as well.
The quality filter isn’t a radical new tool—it is basically an extension of another feature for verified users called tailored filtering, which let them select an edited version of their notifications timeline based on factors like which other users they had the most interactions with. Quality filter basically extends that functionality to all notification options.
From a strategic standpoint, it makes sense that Twitter is making the feature available first for verified users, since those are usually the people with the most followers (and therefore the most trolls). Non-verified users, however, also have to cope with bullying, which the company has acknowledged by rolling out new anti-harassment tools since the end of last year.
These include a feature that makes it easier for people to report abuse to law enforcement and a suite of tools designed to make it faster to report different kinds of harassment, especially for users on Twitter’s mobile apps. The platform is also trying to cull serial trolls by tracking their phone numbers (though that solution is less than ideal because you don’t need to supply your phone number to open a new account).
As TechCrunch’s Sarah Perez noted last week, until recently Twitter has been more reactive than proactive in terms of dealing with bullying, but several high profile incidents (including #gamergate, the harassment of Robin William’s daughter after his death, and Ashley Judd’s decision to press charges against trolls) have thrown the issue into the spotlight and forced the company to take new steps to ensure the safety of its users.