In the wake of ongoing scandals surrounding the use of the social media network Twitter in online abuse and bullying, Twitter this month announced that they would be rolling out a tool that would help users combat the trend.

In a press statement, Twitter explained that the amount of abuse, bullying and harassment has risen sharply in the last few years, inhibiting people from participating on the platform, and in the worst cases, “threatening human dignity.”

Expanding The Mute Feature

The new tool provides added functionality and flexibility to the “mute” feature which enables users to block accounts sending inappropriate message.

As part of the upgrade, the mute feature will now be usable in Twitter notifications, and will allow you to mute keywords, phrases and even entire conversations.

Freedom Of Expression Vs Harassment

This is a problem that the internet has always struggled with.  at what point does your freedom to express yourself cross the line into harming others? Twitter stated that they’d seen a growing trend of people taking advantage of the openness of the system to be abusive to others.

The company also admitted that the tool would not suddenly remove abusive behaviour.  However, it would give users the ability to limit any abuse they may suffer on the popular platform.

Filter Bubbles

On the one hand, it’s good to have access to the tools that will allow you to protect yourself from abuse, bullying and harassment.

On the other, there are certainly dangers in living inside a filter bubble which never lets you see anything you find upsetting or contrary to your opinions and beliefs.

The knowledge and understanding of alternate perspectives and points of view are critical in moving forward, and insulating yourself from that may, in the long run, be even more harmful.