Twitter Works Towards Resolving Hate Speech

In a blog published on 15th May, titled Serving Healthy Conversation, Twitter made some announcements regarding their new initiative, which that expands how they leverage behavior-based signals to inform the organization and presentation of content. In its never ending quest to deal with trolls and abuse on its platform, Twitter in its blog post, stated :

“Some of these accounts and Tweets violate our policies, and, in those cases, we take action on them. Others don’t but are behaving in ways that distort the conversation. To put this in context, less than 1% of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but a lot of what’s reported does not violate our rules. While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large – and negative – impact on people’s experience on Twitter. The challenge for us has been: how can we proactively address these disruptive behaviors that do not violate our policies but negatively impact the health of the conversation?”

So, what is Twitter doing about these disruptive behaviours? Some of the concrete actions which they have taken, as per the blog:

“We’re tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in areas like Search and Conversations by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented. A few examples of signals we are integrating include-
1) If an account has not confirmed an email address
2) If the same person signs up for multiple accounts simultaneously
3) Accounts that repeatedly Tweet and mention accounts they do not follow
4) Behaviors that indicate a coordinated attack. “

In its pilot phase, significant results have already started to appear.

“In our early testing in markets around the world, we’ve already seen this new approach have a positive impact, resulting in a 4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations. That means fewer people are seeing Tweets that disrupt their experience on Twitter.”

It is heartening to note that platforms are waking up to the reality of a strong and robust safety policy, to safeguard interests of its users. We recently wrote about Google’s new and improved privacy policy and here comes news of Twitter working on similar lines. It is heartening to note, that Twitter is realizing the grey areas that the ‘trolling’ and ‘hate speech’ fall under, and is working in a concrete direction to deal with these issues.

At Centre for Social Research, we have been working on the domain of online safety for 3 years now, with the aim to ensure a positive and safe online spaces for all people, to be able to voice their thoughts and generate social change. Our initiative with Twitter India, #Tweesurfing, began in 2016, where our team travelled to four corners of the country to raise awareness about online safety, social media for social change, cyber etiquette using Twitter. Through our innovative workshops and interactions, the idea of a web resource featuring Twitter influencers, came into being, where the intent was to have short videos featuring regular and prominent Twitter users, share their experiences with a larger audience. So far, we have interviewed 56 such influencers, from various walks of life- civil society, film, music, comedy, sports, politics, bureaucrats and youth leaders- who have provided Tweesurfing with a vast trove of personal experiences regarding the platform. These video interviews, cover a variety of topics, ranging from how their Twitter journey began, to their Twitter moments and their take on Twitter rules and policies, to ensure a safe online experience for all. The positive messaging resonates with the youth of India and we are working on many out of the box ideas to use #Twitter4Good.

Thus we’re very happy to see that Twitter is constantly improving upon its features and policies, to ensure an enriching and secure online experience for all.

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