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Twitter now lets any user filter out threats and abuse

Twitter now lets any user filter out threats and abuse


Giving regular users the perks of verified accounts

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Twitter is now offering some of its most critical anti-harassment tools to every user, not just those with blue checkmarks next to their name. Now, users will be able to limit the notifications they see to only people they follow. This effectively removes any tweets from random strangers and those who use Twitter to abuse or harass. A second change is the expanded availability of Twitter's quality filter. The feature aims to "improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior," the company wrote in a blog post. That way, newly created accounts or those with suspicious activity will have far less reach by automatically being filtered out of your timeline and notification tab.

These features aren't exactly new. Rather, Twitter is now committed to providing its entire user base with the same set of tools it's offered to high-profile users for years. The company has for quite some time allowed the verified accounts of celebrities and industry workers in media, sports, finance, and tech to filter notifications in a similar fashion to the new settings option. And the quality filter was also first introduced last year, but only for verified accounts. These new settings have now been made both widely available and easier to find.

The expanded availability of these tools is part of longstanding effort at Twitter to remedy its harassment problem. For years, Twitter has indirectly abetted abuse by either refusing to acknowledge the problem or only offering stopgap solutions while verified users enjoy more effective features. Twitter said last month it has about 187,000 verified users, a tiny fraction of its overall user base of more than 310 million people. (Despite a new online form to request verification, the company says it has no intention to change its blue checkmark criteria.)

With growth stalling and ad revenue shrinking, the company under CEO Jack Dorsey is taking more active measures to turn Twitter into a welcoming place for discussion and interaction. That means bringing some of the tools historically reserved for the few and bringing them to the many. In the process, the company hopes it can continue signing up new users and preventing the exodus of big celebrity names who are subject to constant abuse.