How to turn on Twitter's quality filters and silence trolls

Twitter has a solution for stopping the hate on its social network: put trolls in cones of silence.

Twitter has finally come up with a solution to muzzle trolls.

The company published a blog post on Thursday announcing two new controls for filtering your notifications. Twitter notifications are the primary method through which trolls can contact and harass users.

The first new setting reduces the noise in your notifications stream. By default, anyone who mentions your Twitter username with the “@” symbol shows up in your Twitter notifications. It doesn’t matter if they’re asking a simple question, offering constructive criticism, or threatening to cut your head off. Everyone shows up.

The new setting filters your notification down to solely people you follow. The new filter works on Twitter’s apps and the website. It’s not clear if third-party Twitter apps can also apply it.

Why this matters: Many—perhaps most—Twitter users don’t really have a need for this kind of filtering. But for people such as celebrities, politicians, or outspoken feminists, Twitter notifications can be a very dark place. For these people personal threats and other objectionable comments from random Twitter users are commonplace. The new notifications filters will make Twitter a more hospitable place for anyone who wants to speak their mind without having to sort through a deluge of hate.

The unfortunate side effect of this, however, is that people who are being targeted for online harassment are effectively putting themselves in a bubble. In other words, the long-held idea of using Twitter as an “online water cooler” to chat and share ideas with strangers will be over—if it ever truly existed in the first place.

It’s all about quality

twitterqualityfilters2016

Twitter’s two new notifications filters.

The second new setting is called a quality filter. This setting, which was turned on by default for my account, removes what Twitter calls “lower-quality content.” This low-brow stuff can be things like duplicate tweets or bot-generated content. The quality filter affects your notifications and “other parts of your Twitter experience.” Presumably, that means your primary timeline. The low-quality filter never restricts people you follow or those whom you’ve recently interacted with—don’t feed the trolls, folks.

How to turn on the new settings

notificationssettings

Click the Settings link in your Notifications tab on Twitter.com to get started.

Getting to the new settings is easy on Twitter’s website. First login to the service and then click on the Notifications tab. To the right of your mentions, click the new Settings link.

Alternatively, you can navigate directly to twitter.com/settings/notifications_timeline.

This settings area has two check boxes for filtering your tweets by people you follow as well as applying the quality filter. Check or uncheck whichever box you’d like, select Save changes, and you’re done. Accessing these settings via Twitter’s mobile apps is similar. Mobile users should also tap on Notifications and then tap the settings cog in that area, which takes you directly to the two new filters.

If you don’t see the new settings they may not yet be available for your account. Try updating your mobile apps or logging in to the website. If that doesn’t work sit tight; the new features should show up for you in the coming days.

If you apply the filter to only allow mentions from people you follow it’s also advisable to make sure your account restricts who can send you direct messages. You can double check this setting on Twitter.com by going to Settings > Security and privacy.

Now let the haters keep on hatin’, because you’ll never know one way or the other.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags twitter

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?