Twitter to demote tweets as it fights trolls

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Twitter claims that early testing of this new approach has led to a "4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations".

In March, the company specifically began focusing on trolls-many of whom aren't even violating the platform's policies, but are substantially detracting from engaging conversation. For example, 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. Other signals will include whether an account has confirmed an email address or whether an account appears to be acting in a coordinated attack.

"We've focused most of our efforts on removing content against our terms, instead of building a systemic framework to help encourage more healthy debate, conversations, and critical thinking", he added in a follow-up tweet.

"Some of these accounts and Tweets violate our policies, and, in those cases, we take action on them", he continued.

"By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioural perspective, we're able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone's experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us", the post said. 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.

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Social media platforms have long struggled to police acceptable content and behavior on their sites, but external pressure on the companies increased significantly following the revelation that a Russian influence operation used the platforms in coordinated campaigns around the 2016 USA election.

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).

Additionally, following Facebook's lead, Twitter recently began encouraging a public conversation about its impact on the health of individuals and society at large.

Twitter's new approach is still pretty much work in progress, and could take some time to get used to. There will be false positives and things that we miss; our goal is to learn fast and make our processes and tools smarter. Any of their interactions will be invisible to users unless they press the "show more replies" button under a tweet.

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