Twitter has announced new ways for users to tackle abusive messages and hateful content on its platform.

The “mute” button, which currently enables users to not see tweets from individual accounts, is being extended to include all tweets containing chosen key words or phrases.

It will also enable users to opt out of seeing conversations to which they have been added.

There will also be more categories for reporting offensive material.

Twitter admitted the steps would not remove abusive conduct from the platform altogether.

“No single action by us would do that,” wrote vice-president for public policy and communications Sinead McSweeney in a blog post.

“Instead, we commit to rapidly improving Twitter based on everything we observe and learn.”

Ms McSweeney admitted dealing with abuse on the site in public and “in real time” was a challenge and hateful speech had been a “growing trend” on the platform as well as on the internet as a whole.

She said all support team staff had been “retrained” to be more aware of cultural and gender issues in order to provide more effective enforcement.

“Our goal is a faster and more transparent process,” she said.

Analysis: Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

Abuse on Twitter is not just a safety issue for the company – it is a threat to its future.

Many users are complaining it is getting worse and unless more action is taken to deal with abusers, they will leave a network already struggling with slow growth.

So do these policies go far enough to address the issue?

They certainly provide effective new tools for users who want to stop seeing abusive – or just annoying – messages.

There is also the promise of more ways to report abusive tweeters and stronger enforcement action against them.

But here is where it all becomes rather unclear.

When I asked Twitter’s European security chief how many people it suspended, whether levels of abuse were rising, and how many people were now employed to deal with complaints, I received no answers.

The company rightly says this is not an issue unique to Twitter but it gets the spotlight because it is an open and public network.

But maybe a little more transparency about the scale of the issue would help convince victims of abuse it was being taken seriously.