Twitter's Algorithms Know How To Identify Trolls

Twitter's Algorithms Know How To Identify Trolls

Twitter's Algorithms Know How To Identify Trolls

Twitter is ramping up its efforts to filter out negative tweets in searches and conversations.

Twitter has taken steps to boot abusive and bad actors from its platform in recent years, but has still fielded criticism for being a cesspool of negativity.

Twitter has taught its algorithms to identify trolls using behavioral analysis. Thousands of behavioral cues-such as heavily tweeting at accounts you don't even follow-will provide the service with more informed data so that it can protect healthy conversation from unwelcome nuisances. And once you name is on the list, Twitter will hide your tweets so no one sees them.

When Twitter's software decides that a certain user is "detract [ing] from the conversation", all of that user's tweets will be hidden from search results and public conversations until their reputation improves.

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In some cases, if the content is not a violation of Twitter policies, it will not be deleted but only shown when a user clicks on "show more replies".

It actually sounds pretty simple at first: according to a Twitter blog post Tuesday, the company will simply organize conversations on Twitter differently based on "behavioral signals" created to root out trolls in "communal areas" of the social network. Nevertheless, the company remains upbeat about the troll-fighting tactic.

Twitter says that while many posts do not break its rules, many are still be in poor taste or offensive to a large number of users.

Despite the progress made, the company acknowledges that there's much more to be done when it comes to promoting healthy conversations on Twitter, but it made an affirmation to keep learning and improving its tools.

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Del Harvey, Twitter's vice-president of trust and safety, said that the new changes were based on research that found that most of the abuse reports on Twitter originate in search results or the conversations that take place in the responses to a single tweet. Criticism of its approach has led to the implementation of new rules meant to reduce hate speech, and more rules were announced in February targeted specifically to people encouraging self-harm.

Twitter said its tests of this approach shows a four percent drop in abuse reports from search and eight percent fewer abuse reports from conversations. "Others don't but are behaving in ways that distort the conversation", the company said.

The Twitter executives said that less than 1pc of accounts make up the majority of accounts reported for abuse, but that a lot of what's reported does not violate the company's rules.

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