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Twitter to demote tweets as it fights trolls

16 May 2018

The company now uses a mixture of machine learning, human review processes and policies to determine how tweets are organised in conversations and search.

This includes people who have repeatedly tweeted at users who do not follow them, those who have often been blocked by other members of the site, or those who set up multiple accounts at once.

In order to identify the behavior, the company has picked out certain patterns of behavior which it associates with troll-like accounts.

To better manage trolls on its platform, Twitter says it's beginning to analyze the unique behavior of individual accounts.

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

The result is that people contributing to the healthy conversation will be more visible while those that try to poison or undermine the debate with negativity will be digitally sidelined.

Harvey and Gasca said that there are many new signals that Twitter is taking in, most of which are not visible externally. "Others don't but are behaving in ways that distort the conversation".

Among other suspicious behavior, the company is looking out for accounts that don't confirm their email addresses, along with instances of multiple accounts being created simultaneously.

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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 content itself will remain on Twitter but will only be shown if people click on "show more replies" or choose to see everything in their searches.

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".

Tweets that are determined to most likely be bad aren't just automatically deleted, but they'll get cast down into the "Show more replies" section where less eyes will encounter them.

In the blog post, Twitter said: "This technology and our team will learn over time and will make mistakes". There will be false positives and things that we miss; our goal is to learn fast and make our processes and tools smarter. "We are making progress as we go", Dorsey said.

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Twitter to demote tweets as it fights trolls