Twitter is working on a feature that could help to reduce harassment and bullying on social networks. Jane Manchun Wong, an app engineer, discovered that the company is working on a way for users to control who can mention them on Twitter devs. According to a screenshot posted by Wong, the new controls would allow users to limit mentions to people they follow or turn them off entirely. Of course, you’d still have the option of allowing anyone to mention you, as Twitter currently does.
Giving users the option to disable mentions entirely would be a significant change for the company, but it would also provide users with a way to protect themselves from the various forms of bullying and harassment they face on the platform.
Although users who are targeted by trolls can currently block or mute them, individually blocking abusive accounts or muting specific tweets does not scale in cases where hundreds of accounts are involved in the targeted abuse.
As with any other beta feature, it’s unclear when or if fabrizio romano twitter intends to officially launch the new controls. When asked about the potential upcoming change, a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch that the company doesn’t have anything to share at this time. It’s worth noting that Twitter privacy designer Dominic Camozzi confirmed the new controls were in the works in a now-deleted tweet and had asked users for feedback, as reported by The Verge.
If Twitter decides to implement the feature, it will be added to the social network’s existing audience management tools. Twitter gave all users the option to limit replies to their tweets two years ago. You can use this feature to limit replies to people you follow or people you mention in a tweet. Trolls can still use this feature to send abuse by Quote Tweeting another user’s tweet. Wong’s new controls would likely eliminate this workaround and protect users from persistent trolls.
Earlier this year, Twitter also made its “Unmentioning” feature available to all users. Users can use the feature to remove their name from another user’s tweet so they are no longer tagged in it and any ongoing chatter surrounding it.
The new controls would be a welcome addition to the platform, and it’s encouraging to hear that Twitter is considering ways to help users protect themselves from abuse in addition to the existing anti-abuse features. Coordinated trolling attacks have long been an unwelcome feature of Twitter’s platform, and the company has been chastised for failing to do enough to prevent harassment and abuse.
Although public figures are more likely to face higher levels of harassment than other types of users, it’s a problem that isn’t limited to those with a public profile, especially since racist abuse continues to be a problem on Twitter. The new controls would be a step forward in protecting online users from various forms of abuse and trolling.