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Code suggests Facebook is working on a comment keyword mute tool

Facebook could soon allow users to remain blissfully unaware of comments that contain certain keywords or phrases. Reverse engineering guru Jane Manchun Wong recently uncovered a potential Facebook feature that would allow users to mute certain keywords, phrases, or even emojis.

According to the screenshots, the feature notifies users that “the people who post those comments and their friends will still be able to see them.” But, comments with those keywords won’t appear on your timeline, the screenshot says. The screenshot shows a tool that works using existing comments — without a text field, the phrases appear to be auto-suggested from existing comments, though exactly how the tool works is unclear.

The potential feature is part of a content moderation tool that also allows users to block other users from commenting. Wong says the feature is for personal timelines, not business Pages. If launched, the tool would join existing options like a spam filter for comments.

Facebook hasn’t confirmed the feature, so for now, the comment mute tool appears to be part of the app’s unused code — Facebook is likely just testing the feature. Tested features don’t always make global launches either — as Facebook’s ‘dystopian’ one-click comment test fail last week illustrates.

Wong has been behind a number of early feature leaks from social networks, many that wind up becoming official announcements weeks down the road.

The feature isn’t terribly surprising — Facebook-owned Instagram already has a comment control tool inside the settings. Instagram’s manual filter allows users to type in specific words to block, and only works if users also have the automatic option to hide offensive comments turned on. Twitter also allows users to filter out comments using keywords.

The comment moderation tool isn’t the only way Facebook is trying to give users more control over what they see by using keywords. Earlier this year, Facebook began testing a keyword snooze that allows users to temporarily snooze keywords from the News Feed for 30 days. A similar feature launched at the end of 2017 allows users to temporarily “snooze” their friends from their News Feed. The feature could be one of several tools attempting to make time spent on the network “time well spent,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s goal for 2018.

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