Commentary

Twitter Finally Adds Quality Filter

What took you so long, Twitter?!

As with so many features that Twitter takes forever to develop, that was my response to a new quality filter that the social giant is rolling out this week.

After a year of testing, Twitter is finally confident that the filter will sort out low-quality tweets without disrupting its ecosystem.

“When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior,” Emil Leong, product manager at Twitter, notes in a new blog post.

Specifically, Leong said the filter should cut down on duplicate tweets, and content that appears to be automated.

In addition, Twitter will now give its users the power to limit notifications to only people that they follow on mobile and on Twitter.com.

The social giant will also now let users access their notification settings directly from their notifications tab.

Regarding these two additional features, I’ll say it again: What took you so long, Twitter?!

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From forgiving tweets that exceed 140 characters to forgoing its reverse-chronological feed, Twitter has a history of correcting design features that no longer serve users’ best interests -- but only after much handwringing. 

No doubt, Twitter’s tendency to drag its feet on design changes has served as a drag on user growth -- and, the company’s problems in that area are worse than ever.

In fact, in its latest forecast of domestic Twitter usage, eMarketer just significantly downgraded its projections amid nearly stagnant growth reported by the company in the second quarter.

By the end of this year, 52.2 million U.S. consumers will access their Twitter accounts at least once a month. If accurate, that will represent a mere 2% increase, year-over-year.

Worse yet, eMarketer has flattened its growth estimates for Twitter for the next four years. It expects the social giant to add just 3.6 million users by 2020 instead of the 13.9 million previously forecast.

“Twitter continues to struggle with growing its user base because new users often find the product unwieldy and difficult to navigate, which makes it challenging to find long-term value in being an active user,” Oscar Orozco, an analyst at eMarketer, notes in a new report. “Also, new product initiatives have had little impact in attracting new users.”

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