Did you hear? General Corpulus isn’t dead, he was revived by the mystical Waters of Bahoomya, retrieved by Princess Littlepiddles, who was really his cat the whole time! If this kind of thing sends you into a convulsive rage, you’ve probably been the victim of a social network spoiler or two and you’re hoping to keep it from happening again.
While not specifically designed for such, a lot of social networks allow you to block mentions of specific words or phrases. You can use these content and harassment filters in a less frivolous, but more common, application: blocking out mentions of a show or movie you haven’t watched yet, to keep yourself from getting spoiled.
Not every social network allows this, and some only have filters that apply to certain parts of the content. To cover yourself completely, you might want to set up multiple word filters. For example, “Star Wars,” “Mandalorian,” “Baby Yoda.”
From the main Twitter site or any of the official apps, go to the “Settings and privacy” menu. Tap “Muted words.” Tap the “Add” button to add single words, phrases, or hashtags to your muted list. You’ll want to add both the word and the hashtag for safety’s sake.
You can set a time for each of these to expire, which is handy for TV shows you know you’ll get to soon. When you’re done with the mute, return to the same menu to delete it with the crossed-out volume button.
Facebook doesn’t allow single word filters, unfortunately. But if any of your friends (or the sites that they like to post) are particularly prone to spoiling shows or movies, you can temporarily “mute” them from the menu on each post. Select “Snooze [user] for 30 days” to banish them from your timeline for a month. To bring them back early, go into the site’s main settings menu, tap “News Feed Preferences,” and then “Snooze.” You’ll see a list of currently snoozed people and sites.
lol jk mkbdh we’d never mute u bb
Instagram has the same mute feature as Facebook (which makes sense because they’re owned by the same company), available from the menu button on each post. You can mute individual users or stories. You can also block single words or phrases from comments on your posts (and only those comments) by going to the Privacy menu. Go to “Comments,” then “Manual Filter” to add words. Make sure and unfollow relevant hashtags for more wide-reaching filters.
We’ve checked for effective filters on other social networks—TikTok, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube—and found them wanting. On those services you’re just going to have to be careful who you’re following to keep yourself from being spoiled.
Of course, there’s always the nuclear option. If you really can’t stand to be spoiled for a movie or TV show, the surest way to keep it from happening is to not use any social media platforms at all until you’ve seen it. You can use this trick on real people, too!