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How to mute abusive Twitter trolls: Try these new notification settings

Twitter has updated its notification settings in an attempt to curb harassment.

Twitter logo
Companies including Twitter pledged to pull down hate speech from their sites within 24 hours.
Jaap Arriens, NurPhoto via Getty Images

Just because trolls exist on the internet doesn't mean you have to listen to them.

Twitter now lets you mute notifications from abusive anonymous Twitter accounts. The feature was announced last week and went live Thursday for Android and web versions. No word yet on when the feature will come to iOS.

Twitter has previously stated its commitment to help combat online harassment, an ongoing problem that plagues the site. One plan is to let you control who you get notifications from. With this new feature, you can silence notifications from accounts that don't have a confirmed email address, confirmed phone number, or profile photo (using the default egg icon instead).

Some online trolls hide behind their sense of anonymity, so muting notifications from accounts that aren't tied to a person's identity might help prevent abusive anonymous tweets from reaching their target.

This new feature can mute people who create new accounts just for the sake of bullying, but it won't stop them from tweeting or remove the tweets. Trolls can get around this by confirming their email, phone number, or adding a photo -- but it means they can't create throwaway accounts as quickly, and the contact info could offer extra ways to hold that person accountable.

(You could also try muting specific users.)

Take these steps to enable the new feature on Twitter for Android:

  • Open the Twitter app and go to Settings and privacy.
  • Select Notifications
  • Select Advanced filters, then choose who you want to mute notifications from.
Screenshot by Gordon Gottsegen/CNET

You also have the option of muting everyone you don't follow. You might want to think twice about doing this, because it prevents all new people from reaching out to you, even those with good intentions.

To change the notification settings on the web version do the following:

  • Log into your account and click the Notifications tab in the top left.
  • Click Settings at the top of the notification feed.
  • This will bring you into the menu where you can control who you receive notifications from. Hit Save changes when you are done.
Screenshot by Gordon Gottsegen/CNET