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Twitter is testing automatic DM censorship to weed out abuse

Earlier this week, Twitter revealed that it was testing a whole host of new features, but apparently that wasn’t the end of it. The social network has tweeted yet another one: direct messages will now be screened for offensive words, giving you the choice to decide whether to open or ignore.

This is how it looks in practice:

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Like Facebook Messenger’s “filtered messages” section, certain direct messages will be kept away in an area called “additional messages”. There, any messages that contain suspicious words will have the preview text replaced with the following words: “This message is hidden because it may contain offensive content.” It’s then on you as to whether you hit the little bin icon to delete it, or run the risk of feeling let down by humanity by giving your new contact a chance.

As per usual with these announcements, the tweet’s replies were filled with people asking for the long-requested edit button. As ever, these people look set to be disappointed. Earlier this week, Kayvon Beykpour, Twitter’s product lead, told journalists that while an edit button remained a possibility, it’s not happening any time soon. “Honestly, it’s a feature that I think we should build at some point, but it’s not anywhere near the top of our priorities,” Beykpour said. “That’s the honest answer.”

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While it sounds like a trivial feature to add, the possible unintended consequences are pretty easy to map. As retweets appear in people’s timelines, it’s entirely possible that a user could tweet something funny but innocuous, get tens of thousands of retweets, and then replace it with something horribly offensive, essentially defacing other people’s Twitter accounts. Some have suggested time limiting edits and leaving a clear edit history, but it’s not an entirely satisfying solution.

What feature would you like to see Twitter adding next? Let us know what you think on, uh, Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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