Twitter plans to develop an anti-harassment tool that will use a keyword filter to fight abuse.
The app will introduce a new feature that will allow users to block certain keywords. Twitter might have been working on the filter for over a year, and it’s not clear when the developer will introduce the feature.
Instagram has also added a keyword filter, allowing users to block the comments that include certain words. However, Twitter might be more interested in expanding the “mute” feature that allows people to avoid tweets from individual accounts.
The rumors say that users might be able to set filters that will make racial and gendered slurs be hidden. Another application of the filter is to cover up the tweets related to events or topics that are of no interest to them.
People suspected Twitter of using filters in the past when it actively prevented people that they should not use specific words to other users. Although it had not been mentioned, the anti-harassment tool would look like other third-party systems such as Tweetbot or Tweetdeck.
It may be hard to predict how the users’ experience will change after the implementation of the anti-harassment tool.
On the other hand, trolls have the capacity of finding ways to trick filtering.
The Anti-Harassment Fight
While the anti-harassment tool can be useful to many people, it may be not sufficient to protect users completely from abuse.
The core feature of Twitter is that anyone can publicly say anything to anyone else. Because of the subsequent violence, many celebrities and journalists have chosen to renounce at their Twitter accounts. For example, a reporter from New York Times had to leave the app after receiving a series of anti-Semitic tweets, and an actress similarly received sexist and racist attacks.
Twitter had been working for several months with anti-harassment groups to develop a new approach to protecting its users. This year, the company made several small steps in asking users to identify the offending tweets in their complaint reports.
The anti-harassment tool will help people to moderate any content, which will go from offensive words to uninteresting topics.
Facebook adopted a similar feature for their business users, and celebrities have already started to use it. However, trolls will always be able to misspell words or to invent new ways to send out their insults.
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