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Facebook tries to cut down on abuse and harassment

The new tools come as the social network has been examining its effect on people’s well-being.

ignoring-messages-screenshots

Facebook Messenger will let you ignore messages without explicitly blocking that person.

Facebook

Facebook says it's trying to make sure you're safer when you use its services.

The social network on Tuesday unveiled new tools aimed at curbing abuse and bullying on its platform.

One tool is designed to make sure that when you block someone who's been harassing you, the person can't simply create a new account and continue to harass. The tool does that by looking at various signals, like the person's IP address.

Another new tool involves the Facebook Messenger chat app and will let you automatically ignore messages from a contact without actually blocking that person. That's because blocking an abuser can sometimes make the abuse worse. When you choose the ignore option, the messages go straight to your filtered messages folder and not your inbox. That way, you or someone else can review the messages to see if there's any risk. Right now the feature is available only for one-on-one conversations, but Facebook said it will soon be available for group conversations too.

The new features come as social networks clamor to stop regular abuse on their platforms. For example, Twitter has updated its community guidelines to reduce hateful content, and on Monday it banned at least 20 notable accounts violating the rules.

Facebook, meanwhile, has been grappling with the negative effect it can have on people's well-being. The social network said last week that Facebook can play a negative role if people tend to scroll through the feed passively and in isolation, without interacting with other users or sharing messages. The company also introduced a "snooze" feature last week, which lets you mute annoying friends for up to 30 days. 

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