Twitter is launching a new feature called Safety Mode that will temporarily autoblock accounts sending harmful or abusive tweets to you. Safety Mode is launching in beta with a “small feedback group” of accounts on iOS, Android, and Twitter.com with English-language settings enabled and plans of expanding the group of testers “in the coming months.”
“When the feature is turned on in your Settings, our systems will assess the likelihood of a negative engagement by considering both the Tweet’s content and the relationship between the Tweet author and replier,” senior product manager Jarrod Doherty said in a blog post. “Our technology takes existing relationships into account, so accounts you follow or frequently interact with will not be autoblocked.” Accounts are temporarily blocked for seven days, but the company says you can undo autoblocks made in error.
Twitter showed off Safety Mode in February at its Analyst Day presentation, but at the time, we didn’t know when it would officially roll out. This is Twitter’s latest feature that attempts to reduce abuse on the platform. Other recent features include hiding replies, letting people limit who can reply to their posts, and showing a warning before you tweet a potentially harmful reply.
Despite the new features, harassment continues to be a major problem on the platform, as evidenced recently by the torrent of racist abuse against Black players on England’s football team following their Euro 2020 championship loss.