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Twitter Update Lets Users Block People and Words

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FILE - In this July 27, 2016, file photo, the Twitter symbol appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter, long criticized as a hotbed for online harassment, is expanding ways to curb the amount of abuse users see and making it easier to report such conduct. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)
FILE - In this July 27, 2016, file photo, the Twitter symbol appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. Twitter, long criticized as a hotbed for online harassment, is expanding ways to curb the amount of abuse users see and making it easier to report such conduct. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Twitter can be a helpful source of news, information and advice. Twitter can also be annoying, with troll accounts that tweet using hateful words. The site can also be the source of spoilers, posts that tell what happens in a movie or sporting event that you plan to watch.

The latest updates to Twitter may solve these problems. The updates let the user block anonymous accounts from appearing in Notifications. Users can also block keywords so that tweets with certain words do not appear in their Twitter stream.

Blocking accounts from appearing in your Notifications

Everyone who signs up for Twitter is given an image of an egg as a profile photo until a different photo is added to the account. Often, egg accounts are owned by spammers who set up anonymous accounts.

Now, you can block those egg accounts so they do not appear in your Notifications.

Updates to Twitter also let you control which accounts appear in your Notifications. You can block Notifications from anonymous accounts and from those who have not added a profile picture.

And, you can block accounts that do not have a verified phone number or email account. Anyone can set up a Twitter account using a fake email address and profile picture. But faking a phone number is more difficult.

If you block anonymous accounts, you will not see tweets in your Notifications from such accounts, even if they use your name.

How to block anonymous accounts

Here's how you can block anonymous Twitter accounts in Notifications. First, click Settings, then choose which accounts to block.

Twitter Notification Settings
Twitter Notification Settings

You can block Notifications from accounts:

  • you do not follow
  • that have a Twitter egg photo
  • that do not have a confirmed email
  • that do not have a confirmed phone number
Twitter Notification Options
Twitter Notification Options

What you need to know about blocking accounts from your Notifications

If your account shows an egg as the profile photo, you may be blocked from Notifications in many accounts. Add a photo to your Twitter profile if you have not done that yet.

Also, add a phone number to your account and confirm your email address to avoid being blocked.

Consider whether you would like to block anonymous accounts. By blocking these accounts from Notifications, you will not see as many tweets.

You will be blocking not only trolls, but also those who have not yet added a profile picture or linked a phone number or email address to their accounts. Not everyone without a profile photo or email address is a Twitter troll.

If your goal is to see all tweets that include your Twitter name, then you may not want to block accounts.

Muting keywords

Twitter also is now letting you block keywords from appearing in your stream. You can mute words temporarily or permanently. If you do not want to see political tweets ever, for example, you can block political keywords.

Maybe you do not want to know the result of a sporting event, or what happens on a favorite television show, before you watch it. You might avoid Twitter so you will not see a tweet with such information.

You do not have to avoid Twitter anymore. You can mute keywords temporarily. Now, you can safely go on Twitter without worrying about seeing such spoilers.

Twitter lets you mute words, phrases, user names, emojis, and hashtags. Muting is available for all languages that Twitter supports.

How to mute keywords

Here's how to mute keywords:

Click on your profile photo to show a menu. Choose 'Settings and Privacy.' Choose 'Muted Words' in the menu on the left.

Add the keywords you would like to mute. You can choose to mute keywords in your Notifications, Timeline or both.

Twitter Mute Timeline
Twitter Mute Timeline

You can also choose how long you want the mute to last. The choices? Forever, 24 hours, seven days, or 30 days.

This update is not available to everyone yet. If you do not have the update you may only be able to mute keywords from your Notifications section. After the update, you will be able to mute the keywords from your Twitter stream and choose the time period you would like the mute to be effective.

I’m Caty Weaver. And I’m Anne Ball.

Carolyn Nicander Mohr wrote this report for VOA Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.

Will you be blocking anonymous accounts from your Twitter Notifications? Will you be muting keywords from Twitter? What updates would you like to see from Twitter?

Share your thoughts in the Comments Section below or on our Facebook page.

Words in This Story

annoy - v. to cause (someone) to feel slightly angry

troll - n. a person who tries to cause problems on the Internet by posting messages that cause other people to argue, become angry, etc.

spoiler - n. information about the things that happen in a movie, book, etc., that spoils the surprise or suspense for someone who has not seen it or read it yet

anonymous - adj. made or done by someone unknown

keyword ​- n. a word that is used to find information in a piece of writing, in a computer document, or on the Internet

spammer ​- n. a person or organization who shares unwanted articles or emails with others

profile ​- n. a description that provides information about someone or something

verify - v. to prove, show, find out, or state that (something) is true or correct

mute - v. to block words or sounds

emoji ​- n. a picture that can be used for communication in text messaging

hashtag ​- n. a word or phrase that starts with the symbol # and that briefly indicates what a message (such as a tweet) is about​

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