As Twitter's userbase has swelled to 200 million, so have the problems that come with it. It has been known for a while that internet trolling is a massive issue which becomes even more intense on platforms like Twitter. Here, trolls can get extremely close to their targets without revealing their real identities.
According to London's Metropolitan Police, it receives around 2,000 complaints for crimes emerging from online abuse each year. At the centre of a majority of these complaints is the micro-blogging website Twitter.
To counter it, Twitter previously introduced the report abuse and blocking options, but neither of them quite worked. The site's latest move, however, might just be the thing trolling victims are looking for.
By muting someone on Twitter, one can save himself from all the content that comes out of a particular account without actually letting the troll know that his tweets aren't reaching you. The purpose of getting rid of a particular stream of tweets can also be achieved through blocking, but that way the Twitter troll gets the satisfaction of knowing he has managed to unsettle his target.
The new mute option doesn't let that happen and makes it seem as if the targets have suddenly become thick-skinned. The feature has just been rolled out so it is a bit premature to say if it is alleviating the pain of online sufferers, but in theory it should – at least to some extent.
In essence though, the mute feature is only a pacifier rather than a real trolling cure. To eradicate social networks of this menace for good, tighter monitoring and firmer, more consistent sanctions on violators is the way to go.