02/03/2017 5:15 AM AEDT

Twitter Inches Forward In Fight Against Abuse

Twitter trolls be warned: Mute is coming for you. 

On Wednesday, the social media company unveiled a series of new measures in its fight against harassment on the site, which ran particularly rampant during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The changes include increased automatic screening for abusive tweets, more powerful filtering options for users and greater transparency from Twitter about how it’s dealing with abusive accounts.

Of the three, users will likely appreciate the expanded filtering options the most, particularly the powerful new “mute” features.

According to Twitter, users will be able to mute specific phrases, keywords and conversations from their timelines. They’ll also be able to choose how long the mute is enforced, whether it’s one day or indefinitely. (So, this would be good when, for example, your whole timeline is tweeting about a show that you don’t watch.)


Tweets coming from accounts without profile pictures, verified email addresses and phone numbers can all be screened:


The other features announced Wednesday should require less effort on the part of the user. Ideally, users won’t notice them at all ― they’ll just experience less harassment on their timelines.

For Twitter, that will mean relying more on algorithms to flag and mute abusive profiles.

“We’re working to identify accounts as they’re engaging in abusive behavior, even if this behavior hasn’t been reported to us,” the company said in a release. “We aim to only act on accounts when we’re confident, based on our algorithms, that their behavior is abusive. Since these tools are new we will sometimes make mistakes, but know that we are actively working to improve and iterate on them.”

The anti-harassment moves come amid broader turmoil at the company, which is scrambling to increase its user base and engagement rate in a bid to grow revenue and pacify investors. 

Twitter’s stock has plunged from a high of $69 per share shortly after its 2013 initial public offering to about $15 a share at present. Though rumors abound of a potential takeover, would-be suitors like Google, Disney and Salesforce (which were all said to be interested at one point) want to see the harassment abate first.