Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Markets | By Otis Pena

Twitter to demote tweets as it fights trolls

Twitter to demote tweets as it fights trolls

Twitter has a troll problem.

Twitter announced in a blog post today that it'll be implementing additional tools and signals to distinguish playful trolling from hateful, detractive comments that ruin the conversation.

They said that while some Twitter accounts belonging to trolls have violated policy and the platform has taken action, other trolls don't necessarily violate Twitter's policies but have managed to distort or ruin erstwhile healthy conversations. It is this type of behavior that the company is trying to tackle with its latest update. Additionally, people's behaviors will be taken into account to determine whether their tweet should be featured more prominently when other users search Twitter for a particular topic.

Essentially, Twitter is making a strong effort to distinguish itself from its competitors right now, particularly since we live in a post-Cambridge Analytica world, where social media platforms must convince their customers that the integrity and quality assurance inherent to their services remain protected and secure at all costs.

What does this mean in practice?

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Troll-like replies in "communal areas" of the platform will be pushed to the bottom, as will posts from users repeatedly tweeting at accounts that do not follow them.

"These signals will now be considered in how we organise and present content in communal areas like conversation and search". Users will have to click the "show more Tweets" button to see tweets that were made less visible. This has been an issue for so long it's a bit ridiculous, but it all has to do with the fact that Twitter really only arranges tweets by quality inside search results and in back-and-forth conversations.

Abuse reports on conversations dropped by 8 percent, while abuse reports in search dropped by 4 percent.

"Our work is far from done", said Harvey and Gasca. "While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large - and negative - impact on people's experience on Twitter", the company continued. The hope is that by understanding what makes a Twitter conversation healthy, the company can promote methods to foster more worthwhile tweets rather than their bellicose counterparts. This technology and our team will learn over time and will make mistakes. There will be false positives and things that we miss; our goal is to learn fast and make our processes and tools smarter.

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