Twitter is making a “quality filter” available to all users, allowing them to hide tweets that appear to be automated or spammy. The feature was previously only available to users with “verified” accounts, which are typically celebrities, public figures or journalists, and who can be identified by a blue checkmark next to the username.
The company said in a blog post Thursday the filter does not hide content from users that a person is following or has interacted with on Twitter. Users will also have the ability to only see notifications from accounts they follow on the service. This might help people, for example, who don’t want to see a barrage of abusive tweets directed at them. But it won’t actually delete the tweets themselves.
According to Twitter’s blogpost, the quality filter setting was being tested till now, and it improve the kind of content one sees on the site, based on a “variety of signals, such as account origin and behaviour.” Duplicate tweets or spam or content that is automated will be filtered out by turning on this setting.
However Twitter says it won’t “filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with,” so in case you’ve engaged with someone on the site and they start abusing you or sending spam, it is still likely to come through in your notifications.
Twitter has also announced it hshut down 360,000 accounts for threatening or promoting terrorist acts since the middle of 2015. The platform has previously come under fire from Washington and third-party groups for not doing enough to stop accounts linked to Islamic State militants. Twitter said its daily suspensions of terrorism-linked accounts have jumped 80 percent since last year.
For Twitter, which struggling to increase user numbers and engagement on the site, new product features which help improve user experience are crucial. The ability to filter out spam tweets is important, but it won’t stem the rampant abuse that goes on the website. However as a recent report by BuzzFeed revealed, Twitter did make a filter specially for President Obama’s townhall #AskPOTUS on the website, and deleted racists tweets directed at the US President.
The report pointed out Twitter had built an in-house algorithm to filter out abusive tweets, which shows the company can do something about such tweets, but so far has actively ignored putting a larger filtering mechanism in place.
With Associated Press inputs