This March, Twitter announced plans to improve the health of public conversations that take place on Twitter, AKA find a way to take down internet trolls. Since November of 2017, the platform has been trying to come up with different policies, procedures and safety updates that will prohibit inappropriate content and hate speech online.
Finally, this past week, Twitter took action and made a global change to its algorithm. According to Twitter’s Chief Executive, Jack Dorsey, this change is shaping up to be one of the biggest things they have ever done.
A new algorithm
The new system will use behavioral signals to assess whether a Twitter account is adding to or detracting from the overall health of conversations. The new system aims to tackle issues of behaviors by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented. According to Twitter, with this new system, if an account tweets at multiple other users with the same message, and all of those accounts either block or mute the sender, Twitter will recognize that the account’s behavior is bothersome, and will take action. But if an account tweets at multiple other accounts with the same message and some of them reply or hit the “heart” button, Twitter will assess the interactions as welcome and Twitter will accept these accounts.
Some behind-the-scenes changes
While many new signals will be added, most will not be visible externally. The biggest change to Twitter will be the organization and presentation of content. Because the content often put forth by trolls or fake accounts are not a violation of Twitter’s policy, the content will remain on Twitter but will only be available if you select “show more replies” or change your Twitter settings to “see everything.” The goal in this is to reduce the number of tweets that disrupt user’s interactions on Twitter.
It’s a start
Twitter does admit that their work is far from done and they are continuing to work to make everyone’s Twitter experience more enjoyable. With Facebook and Google constantly making changes to better the safety of its users, Twitter is left with big shoes to fill. While Twitter tries to keep up, their Vice President, Del Harvey, has made it clear that the company is trying to find its balance, while also solving its issues. “What would Twitter be without controversy?” Harvey said.
-Shannon Moore, Marketing Intern
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