Twitter lets users sideline unwanted direct messages

Twitter has been under pressure to battle abuse and venom on the platform known for letting anyone express themselves to the world in real-time. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2019

Twitter lets users sideline unwanted direct messages

  • ‘Unwanted messages aren’t fun,’ Twitter tweeted in August when it began testing the filter

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter on Monday said it is rolling out a filter that will hide away unwanted direct messages, providing a new tool to stymie abuse.
Twitter users who receive direct messages from people they don’t follow on the platform will be able to have such missives automatically routed to a secondary folder.
“Unwanted messages aren’t fun,” Twitter tweeted in August when it began testing the filter that let users keep them “out of sight, out of mind.”
The filter is intended to also catch messages with spam or offensive content, tagging them accordingly so users can decide whether they want to open them.
“We tested, and turns out filters help you cut through the noise to find gems,” Twitter said Monday in a tweet.
“Who knew. So, we’re rolling out this filter to everyone on iOS, Android, and web.”
Twitter has been under pressure to battle abuse and vitriol on the platform known for letting anyone express themselves to the world in real-time.
The San Francisco-based company earlier this year introduced the option to hide replies to tweets in some countries, an option that promised to help foster more reasonable online conversations.
“We know that distracting, irrelevant, and offensive replies can derail the discussions that people want to have,” Twitter senior product manager Michelle Yasmeen Haq and product designer Brittany Forks said when tweet reply-filter testing was announced.
“We believe people should have some control over the conversations they start.”


Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague

Updated 17 November 2019

Palestinian journalists protest wounding of colleague

  • Muath Amarneh has been in an Israeli hospital since he was hit in the eye Friday during clashes
  • Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied Sunday with one eye covered in solidarity

JERUSALEM: “The eyes of truth will never be blinded,” protesters’ placards read, as Palestinian journalists wore eye patches Sunday to decry the wounding of a colleague in the occupied West Bank.
Muath Amarneh has been in an Israeli hospital since he was hit in the eye Friday during clashes between Israeli border police and Palestinian demonstrators in the village of Surif, close to Hebron in the southern West Bank.
Dozens of Palestinian journalists rallied Sunday — protesting with one eye covered in solidarity.
Amarneh, who is being treated in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, said he was some way from the protesters when he was hit by what he believes was Israeli fire.
“After the clashes started, I was standing to the side wearing a flak jacket with press markings and a helmet,” the freelance cameraman told AFP on Sunday.
“Suddenly I felt something hit my eye, I thought it was a rubber bullet or a stone. I put my hand to my eye and found nothing.”
“I couldn’t see and my eye was completely gone.”
He said doctors at the hospital told him a fragment of metal, about 2 centimeters long, pierced the eye and settled behind it near the brain.
Amarneh’s cousin Tareq, accompanying him in hospital, said doctors planned to extract the metal but changed their minds after discovering they could also damage the right eye or even trigger bleeding in the brain.
A spokesman for the Israeli police denied that the photographer was targeted, saying fire was “not directed at all” toward him.
“The security forces operated in the area in front of dozens of rioters, some of them masked, who threw stones at officers and burned tires,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
“The response by the forces was using non-lethal means in order to disperse the rioters.”
Amarneh, who comes from the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, claimed he was targeted as a journalist.
“There is an unnatural and ugly targeting of journalists,” the father-of-two said.
Since the incident Palestinian journalists have launched a campaign, with protests in several cities in the West Bank.
In Bethlehem Sunday, border police dispersed a sit-in by journalists at the checkpoint north of the city, an AFP journalist said.
Demonstrators wore eye patches and held signs aloft.
Tear gas cannisters were fired by the border police, the journalist said.
Seven people were lightly wounded, according to Palestinian health officials.
In the city of Tulkarem, about 250 journalists took part in a sit-in to show solidarity, according to journalists present.
A video and photos of Amarneh spread immediately after his injury, with journalists trying to carry him with blood flowing from his left eye.
The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate says 60 journalists have been hit by live ammunition this year, the majority in Gaza — an enclave where violent weekly protests along the border often lead to dozens of demonstrators being wounded.