Twitter is exploring a new way to prevent the kind of “unwanted attention” that often results in harassment. The company is working on tools that, if launched, would allow users to prevent people from mentioning them without the block or mute button.
Described by Twitter product designer Dominic Camozzi as “early concepts,” the features would give Twitter users the ability to “unmention yourself” and control who can tag them in future tweets.
Similar to untagging yourself on Facebook, unmentioning would essentially unlink your handle from a tweet and prevent you from being tagged in future replies, according to mock-ups shared by Camozzi. The feature could also allow you to block specific users from mentioning you in the future without the need to block their accounts outright. Another potential iteration would let you block any new mentions for a set number of days.
Notifications— Dominic Camozzi (@_dcrc_) June 14, 2021
Going further, if someone you don’t follow @ mentions you, you’ll get a special notification. If you unmention yourself from there, the Tweet author will not be able to mention you again. pic.twitter.com/RTFBEnkPFf
The concept is similar to one that allows users to limit replies to their tweets. Like that feature, the ability to “unmention” could help address some of the more toxic behaviors that often lead to large scale harassment on Twitter. For example, in one version previewed by Camozzi, the app would be able to notify you when you start to get “a lot” of mentions. From there, you could hop into your settings and change who can mention you or pause them altogether in order to “quickly address situations that have suddenly escalated.”
The features could give users additional tools to deal with situations when viral tweets result in large-scale harassment. Unlike limiting replies, which must be done before you send a tweet, the "unmention" features could be used after the fact or proactively. The tools might not prevent people from saying nasty things altogether but it could shield users from having to wade through a mass of toxic replies or manually block or mute hundreds of accounts.
Camozzi didn’t say when, or even if, these features could make their way to users, but that Twitter is looking for feedback on the ideas.