Twitter tweaks algorithms to give trolls less prominence

Twitter tweaks algorithms to give trolls less prominence

"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", said a joint statement by Del Harvey, Twitter's vice president on trust and safety and David Gascam, Twitter's director of product management with responsibility for health. Some of these accounts and Tweets violate our policies, and, in those cases, we take action on them. 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.

Twitter announced today that it revised its strategy for fighting abusive internet "trolls" that involves the use of behavioral signals to identify harassers on the social network and then limit the visibility of their tweets. "Some troll-like behaviour is fun, good and humorous".

It is to hide potentially trolling behaviour from users - while the material itself will remain on the platform.

Twitter's rules already prohibit abuse, and it can suspend or block offenders once someone reports them.

"That means fewer people are seeing Tweets that disrupt their experience on Twitter", the post said. "The challenge for us has been how can we proactively address these disruptive behaviours that do not violate our policies but negatively impact the health of the conversation?"

All of these factors - and more - will be taken into account when deciding how visible individual tweets should be.

"We're also looking at how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules and how they interact with each other", the company added. 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.

The company has been testing the new methods in markets around the world, and claimed it had seen abuse reports fall as a result, with a 4 per cent drop in reports from searches and an 8 per cent decline in reports from conversations.

"These signals will now be considered in how we organise and present content in communal areas like conversation and search".

Twitter said it has tested the new approach and saw reductions in abuse complaints in conversations and in search.

The move is part of Twitter's attempts to improve what it describes as the health of public conversation on its platform.