Twitter has declared that it is going to curb harassment and hate speech on its platform by hiding the tweets of trolls. The social network will start using algorithms starting this week to identify accounts which exhibit troll-like behavior.
Twitter set to hide trolls by judging their behavior
In its blog, Serving Healthy Conversation, the company notes that a key issue that it has been working on is addressing what can be called “trolls.” Some troll-like behavior could be good, humorous and fun but what the social media platform is detecting and hiding is behavior that ‘distort[s] and detract from the public conversation.’ The blog notes that some of those troll accounts and tweets violate its policies and that it would take action against them.
The social network will remove trolls’ tweets in public conversations and search results. The micro-blogging site announced that it will start using behavioral signals in the programming which decides what content can show up in communal areas like search and conversations, such as if an account repeatedly mentions another account that does not follow it, if the same person signs up for several accounts at the same time, if an account has not confirmed an email address, or behavior that can be threatening.
Now, these behavioral signals will be considered while organizing and presenting content in communal areas like search and conversation. As this content does not violate Twitter’s policies, it will continue to stay on the platform and will be available if users click on “show more replies” or if they choose to see everything in their search settings.
This change will discourage harassment and trolls on the platform: Twitter
Twitter explains that the result of this new setting is that it will promote healthier conversation on the social media platform and the trolls will be ignored. It notes that in its early testing in markets worldwide, it has already seen a positive impact of the new approach, leading to a 4% fall in reports related to abuse from search and 8% drop in abuse reports from conversations.
Twitter’s recent development is in line with the parallel goal of its rival, Facebook, to encourage meaningful content. This could motivate users to return to Twitter many times a day. According to a report by Pew Research Centre, more than half of US adults say that they use Facebook several times a day while only 26% of them use Twitter throughout the day.
This new change will possibly increase trust of users in the social media platform and help in hiking the user base of Twitter. Twitter has been facing criticism for failing to stop hate speech in its platform for a long time now. Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, said in March that he wants to improve the service by allowing healthier debate and critical thinking, so maybe this is just the first step towards that goal? We sure can hope so!