Skip to main content

Twitter has rolled out a ‘muted words’ filter to protect users from abusive tweets

twitter keyword filter abuse version 1477952559 man holding iphone 6 with on the screen
After a few weeks of testing, Twitter has finally officially rolled out a new tool to address online abuse. Users now have a “muted words” option with expanded functionality within the platform’s mobile app, with Twitter announcing on Tuesday that users can now apply “mute” in their notificactions.

“We’re enabling you to mute keywords, phrases, and even entire conversations you don’t want to see notifications about, rolling out to everyone in the coming days,” Twitter said. “This is a feature we’ve heard many of you ask for, and we’re going to keep listening to make it better and more comprehensive over time.”

Related Videos

The tool was first spotted back in October by Twitter user @kendallnkardash, who tweeted about the tool after spotting it in the “notifications” section of the Twitter for iOS app, according to The Next Web.

This is new muted words on twitter!! @MattNavarra

— Kendall Kardashian (@KendallNKardash) October 28, 2016

Despite resembling Instagram’s all-encompassing filter — which was rolled out to general users in September — Twitter’s tool offers added customization, essentially allowing users to block out unpleasant tweets based on offensive words (such as profanities and racial slurs). However, it could also function as a moderator for all kinds of content (from specific topics to hashtags) based on a person’s preferences.

The move comes at a time when the backlash against Twitter’s perceived inaction against trolls has reached its peak. A number of high-profile users have previously abandoned the platform, or temporarily quit, having endured a torrent of bigoted abuse.

Twitter’s so-called hands-off approach relies on its users to report abuse, with complaints directed toward a dedicated team of staffers who probe the inquiries. Additionally, users have the option to mute and block others on the site. Recently, Twitter has taken a stern public stance against harassment led by its CEO Jack Dorsey, who regards the issue as a primary concern.

It is a tough balancing act for a company that has advocated the need to protect free speech on its platform. Over the decade that has passed since its creation, many feel that Twitter has failed to ensure that its users feel safe on the site. And, as detailed in a BuzzFeed report, the calls for change are coming from its biggest advocates.

“Our hateful conduct policy prohibits specific conduct that targets people on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability, or disease,” Twitter noted in its announcement. “Today we’re giving you a more direct way to report this type of conduct for yourself, or for others, whenever you see it happening. This will improve our ability to process these reports, which helps reduce the burden on the person experiencing the abuse, and helps to strengthen a culture of collective support on Twitter.”

Updated on 11-15-2016 by Lulu Chang: Added news of Twitter’s official muted words rollout.

Editors' Recommendations

More Twitter users will soon see fact-check notes on tweets
The Twitter app on the Sony XPeria 5 II.

Birdwatch, Twitter's community fact-checking pilot program, is expanding and getting a few updates. And for users in the U.S. that means more of them will be seeing a few tweets in their timelines that feature notes which add context to the tweets themselves.

On Wednesday, the official Twitter account for the bird app's Birdwatch program posted a series of tweets announcing its expansion.

Read more
Edited tweets may be coming to your Twitter timeline soon
Twitter app on the OnePlus 10T.

You may soon see edited tweets on your timeline because Twitter has begun testing its Edit Tweet feature.

On Thursday, Twitter offered up an update on its long-awaited tweet editing feature via a tweet and a blog post. Twitter published a blog post that details the nature of the test and what the current version of the Edit Tweet feature entails.

Read more
Breaking down the Twitter whistleblower allegations and how it affects the Musk takeover
Jack Dorsey sits in front of a Twitter logo.

On Tuesday, The Washington Post published an extensive report about a Twitter whistleblower who alleges that the social media company's executives have misled, well, just about everyone (but especially federal regulators and Twitter's own board of directors), about its own security issues. The whistleblower complaint details quite a few alleged serious problems at Twitter, including security issues and a lack of resources to fully address disinformation. Notably, the complaint also mentions Twitter's spam and bot issues. If you've been following along with the Elon Musk Twitter takeover saga, you know that ascertaining the true number of bots on the bird app has been a particular roadblock for Twitter's acquisition.

In July, the complaint was filed with two agencies (the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), as well as the Department of Justice. And the complaint wasn't filed by just anybody. The whistleblower was none other than Twitter's former head of security, Peiter Zatko. Zatko is also a well-respected hacker himself, also known as "Mudge."

Read more