Stuff that occurs to me

All of my 'how to' posts are tagged here. The most popular posts are about blocking and private accounts on Twitter, also the science communication jobs list. None of the science or medical information I might post to this blog should be taken as medical advice (I'm not medically trained).

Think of this blog as a sort of nursery for my half-baked ideas hence 'stuff that occurs to me'.

Contact: @JoBrodie Email: jo DOT brodie AT gmail DOT com

Science in London: The 2018/19 scientific society talks in London blog post

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Twitter (desktop version) has a new Mute option for users, what does it do?

by @JoBrodie,

This post refers to using Twitter on the desktop version - things may well be quite different on Twitter for Smartphone apps and other apps (eg Echofon, which I use).

Yesterday I spotted, while pruning spam followers, that Twitter's added some extra options to the block function, and that I also have the additional option of muting people.


If you mute someone then their tweets don't show up in your timeline but they do show up in your mentions. This means that people probably won't know you've muted them, because their messages to you still get through. You can also find their other messages by visiting their profile page or searching for messages they've sent.

I've used my test account to mute myself. In the screenshot above you'd click on the snowflake / gear wheel icon and choose 'Mute this user' from the options. Once done you'll see a red icon of a muted speaker.

I block a lot of spam followers or people who've followed me for what I think are irrelevant reasons (because I once mentioned a word in a tweet that they're interested in). You used to be able to block 'without blame' but now Twitter requires you to fill in one of four options before you can block them, I don't really like this but that's what's changed.

This means that blocking someone is a little bit harsher than it was previously. It still means that none of their tweets will show up in your timeline or mentions (though you can still view their profile as they can view your tweets through your profile).

The big difference is that by blocking them you are also reporting them to Twitter, which may not be what you want. 

So there's no way of removing someone from your follower list without potentially getting them in trouble, which seems a shame.

Remember: blocking someone on Twitter never stops them from reading your tweets, it only stops tweets showing up in timelines / mentions.

Further reading
What happens if you block someone on Twitter? What happens if they block you? (4 Jan 2014) - although the pictures are now slightly out of date the functionality hasn't changed.

Answers to common search questions
I'll put them here when I have a look at my Google Analytics logs - don't fret I can't tell who searched for what, meanwhile here's what Google suggests in its autofill.

1. Can I tell if someone's muted me?
1. How do you know if someone's muted you on Twitter?
No. To the best of my knowledge this information is not available to users (though presumably Twitter must know, obviously, so that it can avoid delivering the tweets).  See also answer to 2.

2. If I mute someone on Twitter will they know?
No. See answer to 1.  Additionally I am not aware of any notification sent when someone mutes someone else, I don't think Twitter wants to make this information available.

If you visit their profile page you'll see the red 'silenced speaker' icon (see first picture) so you'll be able to find out if you've muted someone (assuming you forgot). I suppose the only way they'd ever know is if they played around on your computer while you were logged in to Twitter, and visited their own profile (!), or you sent them a screenshot ;-)

3. Who muted me on Twitter?
It's not possible to tell.


  1. Gail asks: "If someone I follow mutes me on Twitter, is there any way for me to know that?"

    1. To the best of my knowledge, no. I suppose this is the wonderful thing about the Mute function in that no-one is offended, so people can follow and then, if it all gets too much, can silence the stream rather than unfollowing - which I suppose might hurt your feelings if you notice :)

      I'm very chatty on Twitter so wouldn't be surprised if sensible folk mute me - it doesn't make much difference though because any tweet that mentions someone is still sent to their notifications page, so it just affects the main timeline (and further strengthens the "you'd never know" argument).

      Possibly if there's a significant decline in the number of replies / favourites / retweets / clicks you receive then you might reasonably draw the conclusion that a lot of people have muted, though I'd imagine the effect would be small, and the sort of people who interact with your tweets probably not the ones who'd mute you.

      In short, I don't think there's much you can do about it, but I believe if you send them a tweet as a mention they'll still see it anyway :)

  2. "If you mute someone then their tweets don't show up in your timeline but they do show up in your mentions."

    Are you sure this part is right? I haven't found it to be the case. I sent this tweet from a test account I used in my troll research:

    My main account @krelnik has that account muted. I found I got no mentions from that tweet on either the desktop web version of Twitter, nor the iOS app.

    I did, however, get the mention (including a hovering notification box) on the Mac desktop (not Chrome) version of Tweetdeck. Tweetdeck has it's own "Mute in Tweetdeck" option that seems independent of the main Twitter mute function (and I think predates it).

    So if you use Tweetdeck alongside other clients, you do have to mute people twice. But otherwise Mute does seem to really mean what it says so far, including mentions.

    1. Hi - sorry for delay in replying. I've been looking into this and, yes I'm pretty sure - based on what Twitter's own help files say. However, I only use Twitter dot com and I don't actually mute anyone*! I just like to play with the settings.

      Here's what Twitter say
      "@ replies and @ mentions from muted users you follow will still appear in your Notifications tab"
      "Muted users you follow can still send you a direct message"

      Of course with third party apps in use you may see quite different things. I use only Twitter web browser and Echofon for iPhone and don't mute in that either.


      *Just the fake me that I created to test this sort of thing.

  3. If you were muted and you dm the person. Will the muter receive your dm? Will they receive a notification about it?

    1. As far as I'm aware, from limited testing, a mute will not interfere with DMs at all and anyone who has muted you would still receive your @ messages as well as DMs. The only difference is that the tweets you send publicly to anyone following you won't show up on their timeline. From that I assume that they would receive any notifications as normal, because the mute doesn't affect 'addressed' messages, however I do not know much about notifications as I've always switched them off.

      It is also possible that different apps will display things differently, or behave differently (in terms of notifications sent).


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