Twitter has made another tweak to its platform in its ongoing bid to curb harassment. The company announced last night that users would no longer be notified about replies in ongoing conversations started by people they’d blocked or muted, sparing them from abusive conversations unless they follow one of the people replying to the messages.
Under Twitter’s previous system, targets of harassment would not see the first replies from people they had manually blocked or muted, but could see responses to the harasser’s message that hinted at an ongoing conversation. The change seems like a generally positive one, but it should be noted that it will also filter out messages supportive of the original poster unless they actively follow the responder, and could also strip harassment targets of a quick and easy way to see who they should be blocking and muting.
Now, you won't be notified about replies to conversations started by people you've blocked/muted, unless replies are from people you follow.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 16, 2017
After promising to finally address its endemic harassment problem this year, Twitter has made several changes to its over the past few weeks. While the commitment to fixing the issue was welcomed by users, the company has shown that it’s still not entirely sure how to proceed, already rolling back one change after complaints that it made it harder for targets to identify and stop harassers.
Twitter had promised that it would be open about its anti-harassment measures, but it has also started implementing some changes behind the scenes. Yesterday BuzzFeed spotted that some users were being “shadowbanned,” a tactic borrowed from forums in which abusive individuals can still post, but have their reach limited to their own followers for a short time.