Twitter is (no pun intended) quietly testing the ability to mute annoying followers.
Several users were puzzled after spotting the new feature in the wild. It clearly “mutes” anyone—even Donald Trump. So why not just unfollow someone instead? The Verge reports, the difference is muting silences all tweets and retweets from the annoying user that clutter your timeline, but you’ll still appear as a follower to that user. It’s essentially as if you unfollowed the Tweeter, but in a behind-the-back, sneaky way. The muted user remains silent until you unmute them.
But this is more than just a conflict-avoiding maneuver. PC Mag lists some practical uses for the new option. For example: “Is a colleague's live-tweeting of an event distracting you from your work? [Or] maybe a friend's messages will surely spoil the most recent Mad Men episode before you watch it.”
Mute does not, however, block direct messages or notifications via tagging, according to The Next Web.
The idea seems like a lightbulb moment for Twitter, but many other third-party apps have already figured it out.
Tweetbot allows users to mute follows for a specific length of time from only one day, to the end of time. Tweetdeck, which Twitter acquired in 2011, also sports the same capability and is championed by its users.
Multiple tech reporters and Twitter users have seen the option appear on mobile devices only, specifically iOS and Android clients.
If you've been selected as a tester, the mute option will appear at the top of the settings menu while visiting a user's page. As of Friday, there was no word if Twitter is seriously considering muting as a feature.