Twitter helps users cut through bullying with new features

- After months of seeing negative political posts and bickering among social media friends about the presidential election, Amanda Franz said she tried to lighten the mood on her Facebook newsfeed.

"I posted something promoting love and trying to stay positive in such a crazy time," said Franz.

Not everyone online understood her intentions.

"People would be like, 'What are you anti-Trump? Why are you trying to promote these things?' I'm like, 'I'm just trying to stay positive. I don't want to say what my side is,'" said Franz.

Many social media users sharing their political stances have complained of being bombarded with negative and nasty tweets and Facebook comments to the point of feeling harassed or bullied.

On Tuesday, Twitter launched a new tool to shield its users from abuse by allowing them to block certain words, phrases, hashtags or emojis from showing up on their timelines. The feature allows users to no longer see hate speech or other content they deem offensive.

"I would filter out words like hate, or anything having to do with [misogony]," said Franz.

"I wouldn't personally use it, because I'm the type of person [who wants] to see everything that's going on around me," said Twitter user Mitchell Thurston.

Media experts claim its not that people are more sensitve to offensive content this election, but rather, they are more exposed to it in their daily lives.

"Mpeople are on social media in 2016 than were on social media in 2008, which is what many consider to be the first social media election," said Kelli Burns, an associate professor of communications at the University of South Florida.

Facebook and Google took a big step in moderating their content on Monday, announcing both websites plan to crack down on false or deceptive content being shared as "news."

"When people are scrolling through their Facebook newsfeed, they're not always digging and investigating trying to find out if a story is real or not," explained Burns. "They might just be looking at the headline and moving on, but that information is still there. They might be able to use that information in a conversation with a friend, or they might share that information as well, so it's further spread."

The Twitter filtering tool does not completely remove the offensive content from Twitter, it instead "mutes" the content from a users timeline.

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