After receiving flack for not filtering out sexist and racial slurs, Twitter is finally getting around on halting harassment in its tracks with a new tool to filter out abusive keywords, says Bloomberg.
Nothing’s been made official yet, but the filter, which has been in development for a year, will reportedly allow users to list out slurs that they don’t want to see in incoming tweets, instead of blocking abusive users on a per egg basis after the fact.
It’s a timely announcement, since the mouth-breathers who barraged Leslie Jones on Twitter with vile racist and sexist abuse—for the heinous crime of acting in a movie—turned the douche dial to 11 by hacking into her personal website, and posting her driver’s licence, passport photos and nude photos. She was even compared to Harambe.
The US Department of Homeland Security is on the case, so maybe some Ghostbros will end up their own containment unit (jail) while the rest of the world will continue to watch every Ghostbusters sequel and move on like ordinary human beings.
The Saturday Night Live star’s decision to quit Twitter due to the first wave of abuse she recevied—albeit momentarily, until Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey personally banned alt-right scrote Milo Yiannopoulos for spearheading the attack—was one of the most high-profile number of celebs doing the same of late.
Obviously, Twitter would like its more high-profile users to stay on Twitter and not spend more time on Instagram, and has taken some baby steps to attempt to remedy the situation, like the quality filter. But the rumoured keyword filter would be the first sign that Twitter is getting over its hitherto leaden-footed response to online abuse.
However, some people are sceptical over the filter. Gizmodo has called into question about Twitter taking a whole year to develop a fairly straightforward tool (that other social media sites already employ in some shape or form), and the convenient timing of Bloomberg's ‘insider’ report, just days after the Jones hack. They allege that Twitter’s slow response is deliberate, a reluctance borne from the company’s absolutist free speech ethos.
It is an ethos that is apparently “deeply, deeply embedded in the DNA of the company,” as former head of news Vivian Schiller told Buzzfeed. But if change does come, it will show that ideals are all well and good until somebody gets hurt. Or start losing you money.