Will Twitter’s “Quality Filter” Reduce Online Bullying?

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  • April 1, 2015

Social media sites have mainly been a great addition to the lives of people and the daily activities of many businesses. Having the chance to connect with so many people in real-time all around the world has helped people to connect with friends and family members, not to mention new friends or customers, in a quick and convenient way. Most people and firms will have at least one hugely positive story to take from social media, but it would be very wrong to say that everything about sites like Twitter and Facebook has been positive.

Both of these social media sites have received considerable criticism for the way that bullying has been allowed to take place on site. This has been a particular problem for Twitter with the CEO of the company, Dick Costolo, admitting that bullying has caused the platform to lose many users. The positive element of this is that Twitter hasn’t just accepted this fact; they have taken steps to reduce the level of bullying. The latest step has come in the shape of “quality filter” which helps verified users to remove and weed out a number of troubling or concerning tweets that they receive in their notifications.

Verified users will receive support first

Twitter has confirmed that this feature is in the process of being rolled out to verified users that use an iOS device. Verified users have long had an additional feature called “tailored filtering” which provides them with the chance to receive an edited version of the notifications they receive. One of the main filtering features means that some verified users will only receive notifications from people that they have previously interacted or engaged with.

While some people will be up in arms over the fact that verified people, generally famous celebrities, are being presented with this option first but to be honest, they are probably the people with the greatest need for support. The users with a higher number of followers are statistically more likely to suffer from abuse from trolls, and of course, holding a place in the spotlight will mean that these people are the obvious target for people who like to dish out abuse online.

Of course, if this filtering option was to only be provided for verified users, there would be a problem. Hopefully the rollout process will continue on to non-verified users because every Twitter user potentially has to deal with trolls and abuse. This is something that the firm has acknowledged, so it would make sense that this option will become available to everyone. It may be that some non-threatening tweets with questionable language or tone get blocked but on the whole, anything which prevents people from spouting their hate and anger at their targets has to be seen as a positive thing.

Twitter has already shown that it is taking bullying on its platform seriously and the latest steps show that the firm is continuing in the vein. Hopefully the increased focus on blocking such behaviour will actually lead to a change in behaviour from people who make bad decisions in life.