Following on the heels of a promise he made at the end of January to make necessary changes to the social networking service, in order to tackle the menace of abusive and harassing tweets, Twitter Vice President of engineering, Ed Ho, announced three new features on Tuesday that will be incorporated into the service in the immediate future.
Ho had said that Twitter’s main aim, as of the moment, was to make Twitter abuse and harassment free and had even acknowledged its failure in not having controlled the abuse of the popular platform sooner.
We heard you, we didn’t move fast enough last year,” he had tweeted.” “Now we’re thinking about progress in days and hours, not weeks and months,” and true to his word, he announced Tuesday, the 3-pronged attack on abusive tweets, rampant harassment, and serial offenders who do not care if they have been blocked or muted – they simply open up new accounts and continue merrily with their nefarious online activities.
First up, Twitter plans to take the serial offender issue head-on by putting a system in place to stop banned users from coming back with a new account. Probably wary of twisted users who can, potentially, find a workaround, Twitter did not provide details of exactly how it planned to stop the creation of new accounts. Well, not many are worried about it as long as whatever Twitter is planning, checks, if not eliminates, the troll issue.
The second step in the anti-abuse measures will be the enhancement of its search capabilities so that abusive and obnoxious content do not show up in regular search results including messages from any user who has been blocked or muted by another.
“While this type of content will be discoverable if you want to find it, it won’t clutter search results any longer,” said the company’s post without giving a timeline.
The third tool will be a filtering system that will seek out and hide or collapse “abusive and low-quality” replies to tweets thereby saving space for the more deserving ones. However, to see the filtered tweets all the user has to do is click or tap the “show less relevant replies” button being included in the service.
Reportedly, Twitter plans to incorporate machine learning or artificial intelligence, if you will, to seek out “low quality” replies based on some type of flagging system. If a user gets a nasty reply to a tweet from a new account with zero followers it will be kind of a red flag for the system to hide the tweet.
It is heartening to see that Twitter is finally taking the abuse scourge very seriously and adopting ways to check it including the use of artificial intelligence. However, it has not yet set a time frame for the intended changes but one is tempted to hope that Twitter delivers on its promise of sorting out the abuse issues on a war footing.