Twitter hasn’t solved its abuse problem. But it’s found a way to mask it.


Twitter now lets you block mentions from people you don’t know.

Out of sight, out of mind. At least Twitter hopes so.

Starting Thursday, some Twitter users will be able filter their notifications so they only see mentions from people they’re following. In other words, you can soon shield yourself from tweets sent to you by random users who don’t have anything nice to say.

This won’t necessarily keep abusive tweets off Twitter, but it could help hide them from the people they are intended to hurt. And maybe, if Twitter trolls know their mean tweets aren’t making it to the intended target, it could dissuade them from sending those tweets at all. Maybe.

The downside is that blocking notifications from those you don’t follow means you may also miss out on mentions you want to see. Users open to a hybrid solution can try the company’s “quality filter,” which was built to distinguish between good and abusive mentions using software algorithms. The quality filter was initially rolled out as a test, but now Twitter says it’s making it available to everyone.

Abuse has been a problem on Twitter for a long time. BuzzFeed chronicled the issue in a lengthy exposé last week, which Twitter took issue with. To prove it is indeed taking user safety seriously, the company published a separate blog post Thursday about how many terrorist-related accounts it has removed over the past six months. (Spoiler: It was a lot.)

Of course, this is just one group of troublemakers on Twitter. The company is still trying to figure out how to handle the sexist and racist trolls that have thrived on the service since its inception. Rebuffing them is actually the purpose behind this new filter, but masking the problem doesn’t mean it goes away.

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