Twitter amps up censorship: Hides bad tweets

Twitter to start hiding comments from suspected 'trolls' in conversations

Twitter to start hiding comments from suspected 'trolls' in conversations

Behavioral signals that can identify trolls, according to Twitter, include accounts failing to confirm their email address when they sign up, a person registering several accounts at once, a person repeatedly tweeting at people they don't follow, or joining in a "coordinated attack" with other users.

Twitter announced in a blog post today that it'll be implementing additional tools and signals to distinguish playful trolling from hateful, detractive comments that ruin the conversation.

Yet, because a good deal of troll-like activity doesn't technically violate Twitter's terms and policies, it will not actually be banned from the platform.

"There are many new signals we're taking in, most of which are not visible externally", the post reads. "We're also looking at how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules and how they interact with each other".

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We don't know what Twitter will look like after this change, but the company says it's seen positive results in early testing, "resulting in a 4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations".

The company will now try to detect behavior patterns with human reviewers and machine-learning techniques that it has associated with trolls to crack down on them. "The result is that people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible in conversations and search", writes Twitter.

"While still a small overall number, these accounts have a disproportionately large - and negative - impact on people's experience on Twitter", they said.

The company said tests of the new system had resulted in fewer abuse reports being filed, suggesting people were having a "better experience".

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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. This technology and our team will learn over time and will make mistakes.

Twitter executives Harvey and Gascam said that the initiative is part of an ongoing attempt "to improve the health of the public conversation on Twitter". We'll continue to be open and honest about the mistakes we make and the progress we are making.

Those tweets will still be available, but users will have to manually click "show more replies" in order to reveal them.

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