Twitter has revealed a series of new features that aim to combat “hate speech” on the platform, including the ability to block entire conversations and a muted words tool, similar to free speech-focused competitor Gab.
By blocking conversations, Twitter users will be able to ignore everyone who replies to a certain series of tweets, while the muted words tool was briefly shown off earlier this month.
Following in the footsteps of Gab, Twitter’s muted words feature allows users to selectively block out and filter certain terms, putting an emphasis on self-censorship that is tailored to the individual.
“Today at Gab AI Inc, a people first pro-free speech social network, we were particularly amused to discover that our competitor at Twitter is tinkering around with the concept of user-controlled self-censorship — a tool that has been the staple of our platform, since its inception from the beginning of August,” said Gab in a press release following Twitter’s accidental release of the tool earlier this month. “Our platform has been consistent from the very beginning — we believe in the power of choice and the ability of users to make responsible decisions for themselves”.
Referencing Breitbart senior editor Milo Yiannopoulos, who is permanently suspended from Twitter, Bloomberg expressed support for the increase in free speech curtailing tools, while Twitter’s head of Trust and Safety, Del Harvey, claimed that there is still more work to do.
“I wish that I could say that after this launch we would never ever miss something again, but that is not realistic,” said Harvey. “But hopefully we will be able to get it wrong less often.”
“We certainly have not always moved as quickly as we would have liked to address this,” she continued. “This launch is not going to mean that all of these issues are fixed. It’s not going to mean that we get everything right, it’s not going to mean that there’s no longer abuse on Twitter, or that we’re done. But it’s a significant shift.”