Twitter Expands ‘Mute’ and ‘Report’ Features to Combat Hate Speech and Trolls

People are seen as silhouettes as they check mobile devices whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing Twitter Inc.'s logo.
People are seen as silhouettes as they check mobile devices whilst standing against an illuminated wall bearing Twitter Inc.'s logo. Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bye-bye, trolls! Twitter has expanded its "mute" and "report" features in an effort to combat hate speech and cyberbullying following the bitter 2016 presidential election.

The social media platform, which has been criticized for not doing enough to stop abusive online behavior, announced a new anti-abuse policy on Tuesday, November 15, which includes an option that allows users to mute specific keywords and phrases.

"The amount of abuse, bullying, and harassment we've seen across the Internet has risen sharply over the past few years," Twitter said in a statement. "These behaviors inhibit people from participating on Twitter, or anywhere. Abusive conduct removes the chance to see and share all perspectives around an issue, which we believe is critical to moving us all forward. In the worst cases, this type of conduct threatens human dignity, which we should all stand together to protect."

The company stated that it has difficulty curbing abusive tweets in real-time and, therefore, has decided to allow users to control what they can and cannot see by expanding existing features and making it easier to report trolls.

The "mute" feature, which was first introduced in May 2014, previously allowed users to hide specific accounts that they didn't want to see posts from. Now, the expanded "mute" feature allows users to use "mute" in their notifications and to hide "keywords, phrases and even entire conversations you don't want to see notifications about," according to the statement.

Twitter is also introducing easier ways to report abusive tweets that target users "on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, disability or disease."

The company said the new features are set to roll out "in the coming days."

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