Abuse has been a massive problem on Twitter from day one. The harassment campaign against Leslie Jones is the most recent example, and the company finally booted one of its most notorious trolls for good over the issue, but the cascade of egg accounts “just asking questions” just keeps coming. And now Twitter has rolled out a ‘quality filter’ to stop them, but with one enormous catch.
The ‘quality filter’ is designed, in Twitter’s words, to remove “low quality” posts. The quality of a tweet factors in a number of variables, like where the account originates, duplicate tweets, and spam. To enable or disable, it, just go to “Settings” in your account, and click on notifications. When we looked for the setting, we found it had been automatically enabled, a nice touch. You can also access the setting directly from your browser. Just click the little “settings” link above your notifications in a browser.
There is, however, a rather large problem: If you’ve recently tweeted at somebody, or you follow them, their tweets won’t be filtered out. In other words, there’s now even more motivation for trolls to goad people into responding, so expect Twitter to be full of clickbait for a while. Similarly, it’s worth asking how the service defines “low quality,” which is something we’ll just have to learn the hard way when the next harassment campaign rolls around. Still, it’s better than the company’s seeming apathy to harassment, which has been a problem users have been highlighting to the company since the beginning. And it does offer some effective tools for people who just really don’t care what HgePPHH420 has to say about Black Lives Matter.
In the end, there’s only so much Twitter can do about garbage people, but at least now we no longer have to hear from them.