Twitter is looking at adding new features that could help users who are facing abusive situations on its platform as a result of unwanted attention pile-ons; such as when a tweet goes viral for a reason they didn’t expect and a full firehose of counter tweets get blasted their way.
Racist abuse also remains a major problem on Twitter’s platform.
The social media giant says it’s toying with providing users with more controls over the @mention feature; to help people “control unwanted attention” as privacy engineer, Dominic Camozzi, puts it.
The issue is that Twitter’s notification system will alert a user when they’ve been directly tagged in a tweet; — drawing their attention to the contents.
That’s great if the tweet is nice or interesting. But if the contents is abusive it’s a shortcut to scale hateful cyberbullying.
Twitter is badged these latest anti-abuse ideas as “early concepts” — and encouraging users to submit feedback as it considers what changes it might make.
Potential features it’s considering include letting users ‘unmention’ themselves — i.e. remove their name from another’s tweet; so they’re no longer tagged in it (and any ongoing chatter around it won’t keep appearing in their mentions feed).
It’s also considering making an unmention action more powerful in instances where an account that a user doesn’t follow mentions them; — by providing a special notification to “highlight potential unwanted situations”.
If the user then goes ahead and unmentions themselves Twitter envisages removing the ability of the tweet-composer to tag them again in future — which looks like it could be a strong tool against strangers who abuse @mentions.
Twitter is also considering adding settings that would let users restrict certain accounts from mentioning them entirely.
Which sounds like it would have come in pretty handy when president Trump was on the platform (assuming the setting could be deployed against public figures).