Twitter is changing up its policies with regards to nasty tweets - not by banning them or the users who created them, but by hiding them from view.
It is to hide potentially trolling behaviour from users - while the material itself will remain on the platform. "What we're talking about today are troll-like behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation on Twitter, particularly in communal areas like conversations and search", wrote David Gasca, Twitter's product manager for health. "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 behaviour that might indicate a coordinated attack".
No doubt attention-seeking trolls will be hopping with rage and crying censorship over the latest development, but Twitter said that early testing of the new tools in various markets around the world shows that keeping the negative commentary out of sight is having a positive impact. Some of these accounts and Tweets violate our policies, and, in those cases, we take action on them.
"These signals will now be considered in how we organise and present content in communal areas like conversation and search". Hence, tweets that don't violate the rules but were submitted by users whom Twitter deems problematic will remain visible-you'll just have to click on "Show more replies" to access them.
Twitter says that abuse reports were down 8% in conversations where this feature was being tested.
Still, Twitter's discourse is often colored by such tweets, and banning the people involved seems like a good way to open the platform to cries of censorship (well, more open than it is already).
The move is part of the company's push to create healthier conversations on Twitter - a goal first announced by CEO Jack Dorsey in March. That means fewer people are seeing Tweets that disrupt their experience on Twitter.
But it adds: "Our work is far from done".
"This technology and our team will learn over time and will make mistakes", the post said. 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. "We are making progress as we go", Dorsey said.
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