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Twitter begins filtering NSFW tweets

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Twitter announced to developers on Thursday changes to its API that allow for the filtering of tweets containing links to “possibly sensitive” content, i.e. anything that’s potentially NSFW.

“Beginning today you may notice a new boolean field in API responses & streams containing tweets: ‘possibly_sensitive,'” writes the company on its developers blog. “This new field will only surface when a tweet contains a link. The meaning of the field doesn’t pertain to the tweet content itself, but instead it is an indicator that the URL contained in the tweet may contain content or media identified as sensitive content.”

What this change means is that Twitter users will be able to tag their tweets “sensitive,” as well as opt to filter out incoming tweets that are tagged “sensitive.” In addition, users will be able to tag any other tweet as “sensitive,” and it will be automatically submitted to Twitter for review.

In other words, this is NOT censorship. This is a feature that allows users to filter out content that they don’t want to expose themselves to. (Though we’re 100 percent sure that there are plenty of people out there who’d like to view the nothing-but-sensitive feed.) This filtering system can help Twitter edge its way further into the mainstream, and make it more palatable for parents who worry about what their kids see online.

The NSFW filtering system comes just as Twitter announced plans to roll out “Promoted Tweets,” its latest attempt to turn popularity into cash. Promoted Tweets will only appear in a user’s incoming feed if that person follows the brand who has launched a promoted message. Fortunately, each Promoted Tweet will appear in a timeline once, so they’ll be easy to ignore if you so choose. Whether or not you’ll be able to filter out these tweets too is not yet known, but we’re guessing the answer is “no.”

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