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Twitter’s new feature could help filter out trolls

Twitter announced a "quality filter" feature designed to screen out abusive tweets.
Le siège de Twitter Inc. à San Francisco, en Californie, le 15 octobre 2015. EPA/JOHN G. MABANGLO

Twitter's users, employees and leadership have long said that the service has a harassment problem. But the product has changed little, and anti-abuse advocates argue that the company has to do much more to adequately tackle the issue.

On Thursday, Twitter announced a new feature that's a step in that direction, announcing a new "quality filter" feature for all users. The filter will screen incoming tweets based on "a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior."


Twitter began "testing" the quality filter last year with a smaller number of users, primarily those with verified accounts.

At Twitter, Quality is Job #84283. Good news, though: that number just came up!
— John Siracusa (@siracusa) August 18, 2016

The change comes exactly a week after a BuzzFeed News report detailing at length how managing harassment and abuse fell down the list of priorities at the company. The most recent high-profile case of this was last month, when "Ghostbusters" star and comedian Leslie Jones temporarily left the service, citing all the abuse she was receiving from racist and misogynist trolls.

In the past, other celebrities — largely women, including Lena Dunham and Adele — have briefly left for similar reasons.

In a separate move Thursday, Twitter announced that since last year it has suspended more than 200,000 accounts for promoting terrorism.