Key steps for a healthier Twitter revealed
Leading figures at one of the world’s biggest social media platforms have revealed plans to make it safer.
A healthier Twitter has been promised, with key steps outlined. This comes following a blog post written by Twitter vice president Donald Hicks and senior director David Gasca.
The pair, co-writing the article, vowed that they wanted people to feel safe on Twitter. Significant progress was highlighted while doing so, but there was is also recognition of further work to do.
“We want people to feel safe on Twitter,” began the post. “Last year, we shared that building a Twitter free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation is our top priority.
“Since then, we’ve made strides in creating a healthier service. Today, we’re sharing an update on our progress and previewing some changes you can expect to see in the next few months.
“There will always be more to do, but we’ve made meaningful progress that is important to share.”
So, what progress towards a healthier Twitter has been made?
Well, actually Twitter deserves some high praise here. In posting a summary of key progress made, Hicks and Gasca made it clear that the platform means business.
“People who don’t feel safe on Twitter shouldn’t be burdened to report abuse to us,” continued the post “Previously, we only reviewed potentially abusive Tweets if they were reported to us.
“We know that’s not acceptable, so earlier this year we made it a priority to take a proactive approach to abuse in addition to relying on people’s reports.”
Absolutely no potentially abusive content was flagged to Twitter teams for proactive review in April 2018. Now, a year on, 38% of enforced abusive content is surfaced proactively for human review. This is done by using technology now, rather that relying on reports from Twitter users.
2/7 Our first goal is to improve our proactive detection of abuse to not rely exclusively on reports — we’re now at 38% for abuse and this is just the start… https://t.co/YV7uakdoh8
— Gasca (@gasca) April 16, 2019
4/7 Next, we need to supplement proactive detection with better responses to reports. We’ve expanded our team and improved our machine learning models to get to more violating content, faster: https://t.co/CxRhMVEHwx
— Gasca (@gasca) April 16, 2019
6/7 Finally, we continue to work on giving people new controls over their conversations… https://t.co/dnCIAmUPm7
— Gasca (@gasca) April 16, 2019
The post added: “This encompasses a number of policies, such as abusive behaviour, hateful conduct, encouraging self-harm, and threats, including those that may be violent.
“The same technology we use to track spam, platform manipulation and other rule violations is helping us flag abusive Tweets to our team for review.”
Twitter say that, while focussing on reviewing this type of content, it has also expanded teams in key areas and geographies. This is so it can “stay ahead” and work quickly to keep people safe.
“Reports give us valuable context and a strong signal that we should review content,” added the post. “But we’ve needed to do more and though still early on, this work is showing promise.”
A healthier Twitter: The key figures
According to Twitter, there has been a marked improvement in this area. It would be difficult to disagree with them, having read their accompanying statistics backing up the point.
Some proud moments and notable figures (published by Twitter) include:
- 2.5 times more private information removed with a new, easier reporting process.
- 16% fewer abuse reports after an interaction from an account the reporter doesn’t follow.
- 100,000 accounts suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March 2019. That’s a 45% increase from the same time last year.
- 60% faster response to appeals requests with Twitter’s new in-app appeal process.
- 38% of abusive content that’s enforced is surfaced proactively to Twitter teams for review instead of relying on reports from people on Twitter.
- Three times more abusive accounts suspended within 24 hours after a report compared to the same time last year.
So, pretty impressive – huh? We certainly think so!
But, it doesn’t stop there…
Twitter promise there is much more to come, as keeping people safe remains their top priority.
Users of the social media platform will be excited to hear that more changes are coming. It’s not going to take long for them to kick in either by the sounds of it!
In the coming months the teams will be working on five areas in particular. The one that’s getting the most media attention right now is the idea of being able to ‘hide replies’ to Tweets.
This one should come in June and will very much be an experiment. Essentially you will have more control over conversations and be able to modify who can see replies to your Tweets.
We’re working hard to keep you safe. There’s more work to do, but we want to share the results from our latest changes. https://t.co/tb8xCfOk1M
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) April 16, 2019
Meanwhile, Twitter will be continuing to bolster its technology in order to better review content. Finding posts that break rules faster, even before it’s reported, is a top priority – especially tweets regarding treats, abuse and private information.
“We’ll make it easier for people who use Twitter to share specifics when reporting so we can take action faster, especially when it comes to protecting people’s physical safety,” added the post.
“Context on Tweets and our enforcement is important in understanding our rules, so we’ll add more notices within Twitter for clarity, such as if a Tweet breaks our rules but remains on the service because the content is in the public interest.
“We are updating our rules in the next few weeks so they’re shorter, simpler and easier to understand.” You can read the post in full here.
So, everything seems to be going in the right direction! Twitter promises to do more in order to ensure every user feels safe. Further progress will be shared via the @TwitterSafety handle.
But, what do you think? Are you impressed with the ground being covered here? Or do you think this is just a drop in the ocean? Be sure to let us know!
This update follows on from recent announcements from the likes of Facebook and Instagram, platforms which have also vowed to do more to keep people safe.
To keep abreast of the latest goings-on with social media, and the wider tech world in general, stay tuned to our FileHippo News Blog.