Big Bird is watching: Twitter pecks at trolls who spoil conversations

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By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioral perspective, we're able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone's experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us. Tweets and replies will not be deleted per say but deprioritized so that most users will never see them appear in their timelines or stream of replies.

Twitter has a "secret conversation" feature built into its app, but it has not yet been launched. For example, a user who signs up for multiple accounts at once, or users who repeatedly tag those who don't follow them in tweets. Because this content doesn't violate our policies, it will remain on Twitter, and will be available if you click on "Show more replies" or choose to see everything in your search setting. The microblogging company said it has developed a new system that will deal with "troll-like" behavior.

By not taking into account the content of tweets, Twitter can roll out these changes worldwide because language will not be a factor.


The company said that in early testing around the world, the new algorithm has resulted in an 8 percent decrease in the number of abuse reports stemming from user interactions on the platform.

According to Twitter, the majority of accounts reported make up less than 1 per cent of its total user base, which now stands at 336 million monthly active users.

Currently, Twitter uses policies, human reviewers and machine learning to decide how tweets are organized and presented in conversations and search. Many women can not express themselves freely on Twitter without fear of violence, Amnesty International said in a report in March.


Additionally, following Facebook's lead, Twitter recently began encouraging a public conversation about its impact on the health of individuals and society at large. Twitter said it would also look at how these accounts interacted with and were linked to those users who violate Twitter's rules.

"We want to take the burden of the work off the people receiving the abuse or the harassment", Dorsey said in a briefing with reporters.

The Twitter executives said that less than 1pc of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but that a lot of what's reported does not violate the company's rules.


Harvey and Gasca also specified that these behavioural tools are only a part of the content curation work undertaken by the company. "We are making progress as we go", Dorsey said.

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