New Twitter tweaks make it easier for you to shut out the trolls

11 Jul 2017

People holding Twitter logo cards. Image: AlesiaKan/Shutterstock

Twitter has once again issued tools to try shut out online trolls, including blocking new accounts from messaging you.

In the ongoing war between social media companies and online trolls, Twitter continues to roll out new permissions that make it easier for a user to lock themselves into a smaller and smaller space.

Under its newly announced set of tools, you will now be able to mute notifications from anyone who has recently created an account that you don’t follow. Once usually identifiable as different colour variations of the egg avatar, picture-less avatars are typically a sign of someone who has created an account specifically to target users anonymously.

Also introduced in the new update is the ability to switch off notifications from existing people you don’t follow, thereby preventing a situation where a particular tweet won’t lead to a barrage of notifications, either good or bad.

Finally (and albeit more of a limited deterrent), it is now also possible to block notifications from people that do not follow you.

A year of troll warfare

Over the past few months, Twitter has made a series of announcements regarding the tackling of trolls. 

In February, it revealed that troublesome users can now be placed in a temporary sin bin. Also, in March, it introduced new ways for users to block people who haven’t uploaded a profile picture or who have not verified their email with the company.

Speaking with, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitted that the company will likely be stuck in a war with trolls forever.

“We are never going to be done, because people are going to find new ways of harassing people, as they do in the real world,” he said.

“We took a very different approach at the beginning of the year. We made it the company’s first priority. By that, we said: ‘Drop whatever else you are doing and make sure it is fixed’.”

However, it isn’t just trolls that Twitter has been tasked with taking on – last month, it unveiled plans to clamp down on the phenomenon of fake news. 

The idea is that people will be able to flag a story deemed to be fake news using a button beside shared articles.

While still in an early developmental phase, Twitter’s biggest concern is that such a function could be manipulated to allow a user with an agenda to bend a narrative in order to ‘game the system’.

People holding Twitter logo cards. Image: AlesiaKan/Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic