Twitter looks to hide trolls by judging their behavior

Twitter looks to hide trolls by judging their behavior

Twitter announced that it will begin to use behavioral signals — for example, if an account constantly mentions another account that does not follow them — in the programming that decides what content shows up in "communal areas" such as search and conversations. The change by Twitter is part of the company's broader effort to improve what it has called "healthy conversation." Twitter won't remove content from trolls that don't violate its rules, but it will make some tweets harder to find. Twitter has relied on a combination of human review and machine learning to organize tweets. Now, the company is throwing behavioral signals into the mix as a way to weed out problematic accounts before they're ever reported. Those signals include whether an account has a verified email address, if a person registered several accounts in one day or if an account is repeatedly tweeting at someone who doesn't follow them back. Twitter stressed that its abuse problem is limited to a small number of accounts — the company says less than 1 percent of users — that generate the majority of Twitter's abuse reports. Twitter has been quietly testing the update in several global markets. Twitter said it saw a 4 percent drop in abuse reports from search and an 8 percent decline in abuse reports stemming from conversations when using the new signals. The update builds on a Twitter thread Dorsey shared in March in which he asked for outside ideas on how Twitter can fix its toxic environment.

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Image: Twitter
Image: Twitter

Trolls that hurl abuse on Twitter will find it a little harder to weasel their way into conversations thanks to a new update released by the social media company on Tuesday.

Twitter announced that it will begin to use behavioral signals — for example, if an account constantly mentions another account that does not follow them — in the programming that decides what content shows up in “communal areas” such as search and conversations.

The change by Twitter is part of the company’s broader effort to improve what it has called “healthy conversation.” Twitter won’t remove content from trolls that don’t violate its rules, but it will make some tweets harder to find. Twitter’s new behavior-based technology can now bury tweets from those accounts that its system flags as problematic under a “see more replies” link in conversations and a “see everything” option in search.

These might sound like small changes, but Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said he believes they represent a serious step by the company toward a better future for the platform.

“We want this approach to last for the next hundred years, not just now,” Dorsey said during a briefing with reporters on Monday.

Euronews

Twitter has had to walk something of a tightrope in how it handles abuse on its platform, balancing efforts to crack down on abuse and harassment against…

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