Twitter has announced a new change to their algorithm that will fight so-called internet “trolls.” Twitter has long been criticized for not doing enough combat bullying and hate speech. The new algorithm change will automatically demote tweets from accounts that regularly get complaints.
What Twitter says about it:
Today, we use policies, human review processes, and machine learning to help us determine how Tweets are organized and presented in communal places like conversations and search. Now, we’re tackling issues of behaviors that distort and detract from the public conversation in those areas by integrating new behavioral signals into how Tweets are presented. By using new tools to address this conduct from a behavioral perspective, we’re able to improve the health of the conversation, and everyone’s experience on Twitter, without waiting for people who use Twitter to report potential issues to us.
I realize there has to be some limits on this stuff, but I still get queasy when social media companies try and regulate speech on their platforms. The fact that Silicon Valley has such uniformity of thought it’s legitimate to be concerned that this kind of thing will lead to censorship of unpopular viewpoints (unpopular to those in Silicon Valley).
Some additional concerns highlighted on Social Media Today:
But as noted, there are definitely some concerns, and social media marketers need to take note.
For one, this new system will be automated, and the affected accounts won’t (at this stage) be informed when they’ve been restricted. That means that if you fall foul of the system, you won’t even know – and because it’s automated, and not human-reviewed, that could enable competitors to cause you Twitter reach penalties.
Twitter also notes that, in testing, the new system has resulted in a 4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations. Regardless of how positive the initial impact seems to be this is something everyone should keep an eye on to see how it evolves over time.