Looks like Twitter is continuing to make good on its promise. After admitting that handling abuse is far from its forte, Twitter has been steadily rolling out new features to hamper trolls and cyberbullying. The latest tool in its ever-growing arsenal is Twitter's Quality Filter, which will remove abusive content from the recipient's view. As of now, it's only available to verified users, which makes sense; public figures and industry professionals experience the heaviest volumes of abuse and would benefit the most from a feature like this.
In its official description on the platform, the Quality Filter "aims to remove all tweets from your notifications timeline that contain threats, offensive or abuse language, duplicate content, or are sent from suspicious accounts." That means that the tweets won't get deleted off Twitter altogether, but they won't show up in the recipient's notifications, so inappropriate content will essentially fall on deaf ears. If the abuser starts the tweet with the recipient's handle, then nobody will see it unless they happen to follow both parties.
The best part about it is that the troll won't be able to tell if they'd been filtered or if the recipient is just ignoring them.
So how do you use it? Verified users who sign in to their Twitter accounts should start seeing a notice at the top of their notifications feed that looks like this:
All you have to do is click the switch next to "Quality Filter" to turn the function on. And now any abuse will be filtered out of your notifications.
Hopefully, this feature will be available to everyone someday soon, but for now it will be life-changing for those verified users who have to face throngs of trolls every day. Here are a few people who can now tweet easier with the Quality Filter.
The woman behind the blog Feminist Frequency and video series Tropes vs. Women in Video Games has been the target of abuse for years, which she gave her followers a glimpse of in a Tumblr blog titled "One Week of Harassment on Twitter." The post showed messages like "you are a despicable whore" and "I hope every feminist has their head severed from their shoulders." Imagine logging on to Twitter and not seeing messages like that ever again?
Curt And Gabby Schilling
Gabby Schilling, the 17-year-old daughter of former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling became the target of hateful cyberbullying after dad Curt posted this tweet:
After receiving a barrage of harassing tweets, Curt sprang to action and tracked down several of the men who had sent the tweets, whose identities he revealed in a blog post, which led to them getting fired or suspended from their jobs and schools. I'm sure both father and daughter will heave a sigh of relief at the news of the Quality Filter, although for now only Curt will be able to benefit from it because he's a verified user.
Not even Hollywood's A-list is exempt from online trolling. This month, when actress Ashley Judd posted a picture of her kissing basketball sportscaster Dick Vitale and commented on March Madness, she started receiving vitriolic tweets calling her a "whore" and "c*nt."
Like Schilling, she's not taking the abuse sitting down. Judd told NBC News last Tuesday:
The amount of gender violence that I experience is absolutely extraordinary. And a significant part of my day today will be spent filing police reports at home about gender violence directed at me on social media.
It's safe to assume that Judd is happy to hear about Quality Filter because she actually tweeted about it:
Given that she's the one who prompted Twitter to wage war on abuse, feminist writer Lindy West has to be thrilled over this new feature. Unfortunately, she's currently not a verified user, so we're hoping she either becomes one or Twitter rolls out the feature for all users soon.
Images: Getty Images (3), Feminist Frequency/Twitter