Twitter is rolling out new troll-fighting tools as it deals with the many complaints it receives about tweets that don’t necessarily violate its policies.
The San Francisco company said Tuesday that it will demote tweets that “distort and detract from the public conversation” by taking into account behavioral signals about those users’ behavior on Twitter.
“There are many new signals we’re taking in, most of which are not visible externally,” said Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety, and David Gasca, director of product management, health, in a blog post titled “Serving Healthy Conversation.”
“Just a few examples include if an account has not confirmed their email address, if the same person signs up for multiple accounts simultaneously, accounts that repeatedly Tweet and mention accounts that don’t follow them, or behavior that might indicate a coordinated attack,” Harvey and Gasca wrote. The automated tools can also check on whether those users have ties to or interact with accounts that violate Twitter rules.
This new, automated approach is meant to hide possibly annoying or abusive tweets or replies from public conversations and search. However, if they don’t violate Twitter rules, they will still be visible if people click on “show more replies,” the company said. The tweets also will be visible to Twitter users who choose to see everything in search.
Twitter said it has tested the new approach and saw reductions in abuse complaints in conversations and in search.
But what if the system makes mistakes? When asked whether Twitter users will be able to appeal their tweets’ demotion, a spokeswoman said Tuesday that the system is still being rolled out and that the company is thinking about an appeals process.
“The spirit of the thing is that we want to take the burden off the person receiving abuse or mob-like behavior,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reportedly said in a briefing Monday to preview the new system.
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