Twitter's new Safety Mode aims to block unwanted replies before they get to you

Twitter (Image credit: iMore)

What you need to know

  • Twitter has announced a new feature that is designed to prevent abusive replies from reaching you.
  • Safety Mode will temporarily block accounts when replies are thought to be unwanted.
  • Existing relationships between people will be taken into account, so your friends shouldn't be blocked for taking the mickey out of you.

Twitter has announced Safety Mode, a new feature that will automatically black people who it thinks are being abusive in replies to tweets.

According to a blog post, Twitter's move is designed to reduce the amount of spam and hurtful replies people receive.

Safety Mode is a feature that temporarily blocks accounts for seven days for using potentially harmful language — such as insults or hateful remarks — or sending repetitive and uninvited replies or mentions. When the feature is turned on in your Settings, our systems will assess the likelihood of a negative engagement by considering both the Tweet's content and the relationship between the Tweet author and replier. Our technology takes existing relationships into account, so accounts you follow or frequently interact with will not be autoblocked.

That final sentence is an important one. It means that Twitter shouldn't automatically block your family and friends for taking the mickey out of you in a tweet, but anyone you don't know being abusive will result in a block.

Users will be able to see a list of temporarily blocked accounts and un-block them if they want to.

Just as is the case with people who you block manually, those who have been blocked by the new feature will not be able to see your tweets, reply to you, or send you direct messages. This is also a feature that will only be available via the official Twitter app — a shame considering it's far fromt he best iPhone Twitter app in the App Store.

Twitter says it's currently testing Safety Mode as a beta program, so you might not see it just yet. Those who are testing the feature are encouraged to feed their thoughts back to the company so that Safety Mode can be tweaked as required, too. Anyone keen to learn more can read Twitter's full announcement over on its blog.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.