Research

Twitter Comes Up With A New Approach On Handling Trolls

Twitter Comes Up With A New Approach On Handling Trolls

The new system will use behavioral signals to assess whether a Twitter account is adding to - or detracting from - the tenor of conversations.

Among other suspicious behavior, the company is looking out for accounts that don't confirm their email addresses, along with instances of multiple accounts being created simultaneously.

If you tap on a Twitter or real world celebrity's tweet more often than not there's a bot as one of the first replies.

Twitter is trying to keep conversations and search results on topic.

An updated algorithm will push tweets from these accounts further down the search results and replies, but won't delete them from the platform as they don't necessarily violate the rules. Tweets will now be ranked on several factors, including whether the user has recently opened many new accounts or regularly tweets about users who don't follow them back.

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The execs said more than 50 percent of tweets reported for abuse stem from less than 1 percent of active accounts. This is, however, a very 2014 way to look at content moderation and I think it's grown pretty apparent as of late that Twitter needs to lean on its algorithmic intelligence to solve this rather than putting the burden entirely on users hitting the report button. In early testing, Twitter said it has seen a four percent drop in abuse reports from search and an eight percent decline in abuse reports from conversations.

On Tuesday, the social media platform announced it will use new "behavioral signals" to push down more tweets that "distort and detract" from conversations and searches.

There are many new signals we're taking in, most of which are not visible externally.

Twitter is ramping up its efforts to filter out negative tweets in searches and conversations. In addition, Twitter said that "less than one percent of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but a lot of what's reported does not violate our rules". The firm has come under fire in recent years for how it handles reports of abuse by other users and has made a series of changes aimed at addressing that.

Gasca and Harvey don't say whether the proclaimed troll tweets would be demoted for everyone, or just for specific users they've been known to target. Twitter also admitted that this is just one of several approaches meant to improve people's experiences on the platform, and that there will be "mistakes", "false positives", and "things we miss".