Technology

Twitter offers 'quality filter' for all users

Twitter on Thursday announced it would make a "quality filter" tool available to all of its users in an attempt to stem the harassment that has grown into a major problem for the company.

Many women and people of color have long said that their Twitter notifications are filled with abuse. The filter feature will restrict what kinds of tweets appear in a user's notifications list.

"When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior," the company said in announcing the move. "Turning it on filters lower-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience."

The feature, which was already available to some users, does not block incoming tweets from accounts a user has interacted with recently or follows.

Users will also now be able to choose to see only incoming notifications from accounts that they follow.

Twitter's leadership has for years struggled to figure out how to handle abuse on the platform. The company has a strong ethos of free speech - which has sometimes come into conflict with people who say the company should do more to restrict abusive users.

"We suck at dealing with abuse and trolls on the platform and we've sucked at it for years," said then-CEO Dick Costolo in 2015. "We lose core user after core user by not addressing simple trolling issues that they face every day."

But acknowledgements from top executives haven't stopped the problem. "Saturday Night Live" cast member and "Ghostbusters" star Leslie Jones recently briefly stepped back from the platform after she was the target of racist and sexist harassment, leading Twitter to permanently ban conservative writer Milo Yiannopoulos for his reported role in orchestrating the onslaught.

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