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Twitter’s Testing More Options to Help Users Avoid Negative Interactions in the App



Abuse has always been a problem on Twitter, with the platform’s toxicity a source of constant debate, and accusation, pretty much ever since its inception.

But Twitter has been working to address this. After years of seemingly limited action, over the past 12 months, Twitter has rolled out a range of new control options, including reply controls to limit unwelcome commenters, warnings on potentially harmful and/or offensive replies, and Safety Mode which alerts users when their tweets are getting negative attention.

Collectively, these new features could have a big impact – and Twitter’s not done yet. This week, Twitter has previewed a few more new control options which could help users avoid negative interactions, and the mental stress that can come with them, when your tweets become the focus for abuse.

First off, Twitter’s developing new ‘Filter’ and ‘Limit’ options, which, as Twitter notes, would be designed to help users keep potentially harmful content – and the people who create it – out of their replies.

Twitter Filter and Limit

As you can see here, the new option would enable you to automatically filter out replies which contain potentially offensive remarks, or from users who repeatedly tweet at you that you never engage with. You could also block these same accounts from ever replying to your tweets in future.

But even more significant, the Filter option would also mean that any replies that you choose to hide would not be visible to anyone else in the app either, except the person who tweeted them, which is similar to Facebook’s ‘Hide’ option for post comments.

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That’s a significant change in approach. Up till now, Twitter has enabled users to hide content from their own view in the app, but others are still be able to see it. The Filter control would up the power of individual users to totally hide such comments – which makes sense, in that they’re replies to your tweets. But you can also imagine that it could be misused by politicians or brands who want to shut down negative mentions.

That’s probably a more important consideration on Twitter, where the real-time nature of the app invites response and interaction, and in some cases, challenges to what people are saying, especially around topical or newsworthy issues. If people can then shut down that discussion, that could have its own potential impacts – but then again, the original tweet would still be there for reference, and users would theoretically still be able to quote tweet whatever they wanted.

And really, with reply controls already present in the app, it’s probably not a huge stretch, and it may well enable users to get rid of some of the trolls and creeps that lurk in their replies, which could improve overall engagement in the app.


In addition to this, Twitter’s also developing a new ‘Heads Up’ alert prompt, which would warn users about potentially divisive comment sections before they dive in.

Twitter heads up

That could save you from misstepping into a quagmire of toxicity, and unwittingly becoming a focus for abuse. As you can see in the second screenshot, the prompt would also call on users to be more considerate in their tweeting process.

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I don’t suspect that would have a big impact on user behavior, but it could help to at least prompt more consideration in the process.

Twitter’s also developing new ‘Word Filters’, which is an extension of its existing keyword blocking tools, and would rely on Twitter’s automated detection systems to filter out more potentially offensive comments.

Twitter Word Filters

As you can see here, the option would include separate toggles to automatically filter out hate speech, spam and profanity, based on Twitter’s system detection, providing another means to limit unwanted exposure in the app.

These seem like helpful additions, and while there are always concerns that people will use such tools essentially as blinders to block out whatever they don’t want to deal with, which could limit helpful discourse, and important perspective, if that’s what gives people a better in-app experience, why shouldn’t they be able to do that?

Of course, the ideal would be enlightened intelligent debate on all issues, where people remain civil and respectful at all times. But this is Twitter, and that’s never going to happen. As such, providing more control options could be the best way forward, and it’s good to see Twitter taking more steps to address these key elements.



Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options



Twitter Adds New Spaces Recording and Management Tools as it Continues to Focus on Audio Options

I remain unconvinced that Twitter Spaces will ever become a thing, but Twitter itself seems certain that there’s major growth potential there, as evidenced by its continued push to add more elements to its Spaces offering, in order to lure more listeners across to its Spaces tab, and maximize listenership within its audio broadcasts.

This week, Twitter has rolled out another set of Spaces updates, including permanent recordings (as opposed to them deleting after 30 days), the capacity to save recordings after broadcast, and new details within the Spaces bar at the top of the app.

First off, on permanent recordings – after initially launching its Spaces recording feature to all users back in January, Twitter is now extending the life of those recordings beyond the initial 30 day period.

That’ll provide more capacity to attract listeners over the longer term, and keep your conversations alive in the app.

In addition to this, Twitter’s also adding a new listing of your recorded Spaces within your app settings menu, where you’ll be able to play each session back, delete those that you don’t want to keep, or share a recording direct from the list.


That’ll enhance the functional value of Spaces chats, making them more podcast-like, and more of a vehicle for ongoing promotion and audience building – though it does seem to also maybe go against what made audio platforms like Clubhouse so attractive to begin with, in that they were live, in-the-moment chats that you had to be there to catch.

But podcasts is clearly more of the angle that Twitter’s now going for, based on these example screens of another new test in the back end of the app.

Twitter Spaces Stations test

As you can see in these images (shared by app researcher Alessandro Paluzzi), Twitter’s also developing ‘Stations’ within the Spaces tab, which would incorporate podcasts into its audio stream, providing even more options for tuning into on-demand audio content within the app.

That could make Spaces recordings even more valuable, and potentially help Spaces broadcasters translate their work into a monetizable podcast process – but do Twitter users really want to tune into podcasts from the app? I mean, we have Spoitify and Apple Podcasts and various other options available.

Could Twitter really become a key hub for audio content like this?

In some ways, it seems unnecessary, but then again, the real-time nature of tweets lends itself to topical discussion, and that could make it a good hub for all of these types of discussions and content, including Spaces, Spaces recordings, podcasts, etc.

And again, that would better facilitate connection between Spaces and recorded audio. It just depends on whether Twitter users will actually come to rely on the app for their latest podcast content.

On another front, Twitter will now also enable iOS users to record a Space when the broadcast is over, even if they didn’t hit ‘Record’ during the session.

Twitter Spaces recordings

Which also means that the ‘REC’ marker would not have been present during the session, alerting participants to the fact that this was being recorded, which could be problematic for some contributors.

In some ways, it seems like Twitter didn’t offer these options initially because it thought that it wouldn’t be able to facilitate the data storage required to keep all of the many recordings in its data banks, but now, with so few people broadcasting, it’s maybe found that this won’t actually be a problem.


A sort of ‘glass half full’ element, I guess.

Finally, Twitter’s also adding new details into the Spaces bar on Android, including additional, scrolling insights into who’s hosting, the topics being discussed, who’s shared a Tweet in the chat and more.

Twitter Spaces info

That could entice more users into the session – or at the least, bring even more attention to the Spaces bar at the top of the app by providing more, bigger info.

Though again, I don’t know. It doesn’t seem like Spaces is really catching on, going on the participant numbers in the Spaces stream. And while the addition of podcasts could be interesting, I don’t see Twitter becoming a key app for audio content, especially as the Clubhouse-led audio trend continues to die down.

But maybe the engagement numbers are better than it seems. I mean, you’d have to assume that they are, given Twitter’s ongoing investment in the functionality – through Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal did note last month, that the company had not hit intermediate milestones on its growth plans, based on its investment in new functionalities like Spaces, Communities and Twitter Blue.

Twitter hasn’t shared specific data, so maybe there’s more to it, and that’s why it’s so keen to push ahead with more Spaces tools. But either way, it’s giving it its best opportunity to succeed, and it’s seemingly not done yet with its Spaces development.

Will that, eventually, result in Spaces becoming a thing? Only time will tell.

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