Social media sites such as Twitter are always walking that fine line between allowing free speech and protecting their users against abusive tweets. As you can imagine, with the number of users Twitter has on their site on a daily basis in combination with the number of tweets sent, protecting users’ rights without stepping on the rights of someone else is a challenge.
Just this week Twitter has announced that they are stepping up their efforts at stopping abusive tweets. They have made adjustments to their algorithms, policies and procedures to both catch and stop more tweets that cross the line into abuse.
How Is Twitter Going to Monitor Abuse More Effectively
- They are increasing the team overseeing this area threefold allowing for more people to implement the additional procedures associated with these policy changes.
- They have broadened what type of abuse and threats they can act on, “We are updating our violent threats policy so that the prohibition is not limited to “direct, specific threats of violence against others” but now extends to “threats of violence against others or promot[ing] violence against others.”
- They are adjusting their algorithms to flag content that meets these updated qualifications as being possibly abusive. These changes are still in a test phase, but the updates will take a wide range of signals, context and the content that is actually being tweeted by users into consideration.
These changes will allow Twitter to move quickly and swiftly in identifying abusive tweets and taking action with the accounts in question.
My Impressions on This Change in The Twitter Algorithm
- Twitter realizes that safety and protecting the rights of all their users are equally important.
- Their objective isn’t to take away the rights of free speech, but to protect their users from verbal abuse. (I hope it will also stop the extremes that Twitter trolls often take when someone tweets something they don’t like.)
- Twitter’s changes will also require it’s users to potentially be more selective with some of the words they tweet that can be considered abusive for example a post titled “20 Ways to Kill It…” could be flagged, at least initially while Twitter continues to work out all the kinks. (As always, continue to choose your words wisely and those you follow even more wisely.)
One thing that I sincerely hope is that this change in the Twitter Algorithm will make it more difficult for cyber stalkers to continue to register accounts in multiple names and verbally abuse those they do not like online, or wish to cause harm too.
Twitter has a challenge ahead of them. Let’s all be patient while Twitter works out the kinks. I am sure there will be several.
What are your thoughts and observations about this Twitter update? Please share below.