Twitter tweaks algorithms to give trolls less prominence

The move is part of Twitter's plan to improve the health of discussion on the platform

"Because this content doesn't violate our policies, it will remain on Twitter, and will be available if you click on "Show more replies" or choose to see everything in your search setting", said a joint statement by Del Harvey, Twitter's vice president on trust and safety and David Gascam, Twitter's director of product management with responsibility for health.

When asked whether Twitter users will be able to appeal their tweets' demotion, a spokeswoman said Tuesday that the system is still being rolled out and that the company is thinking about an appeals process.

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. These people - or bots - don't necessarily merit outright banning from the site, but this week Twitter plans to start reducing their visibility in comment threads and search results, or any part of the app where an algorithm determines the order of people's posts. It is this type of behavior that the company is trying to tackle with its latest update.

Twitter is taking steps to deal with "troll" behaviour that "distort and detract" from the public conversation on the platform, changing how such tweets appear in public searches and conversations. On one hand it's been upsetting to users who have been personally targeted, on the other hand it's just taken away the utility of poring through the conversations that Twitter enables in the first place. It said much of what was reported didn't violate its rules.

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Twitter says that while many posts do not break its rules, many are still be in poor taste or offensive to a large number of users. The challenge for us has been: how can we proactively address these disruptive behaviors that do not violate our policies but negatively impact the health of the conversation? All of these factors - and more - will be taken into account when deciding how visible individual tweets should be. Twitter will look for signals such as unconfirmed email addresses, multiple accounts opened by the same user, and repeated interactions with accounts that don't follow them.

Twitter acknowledged it expects to make mistakes, and that the system will change, learn and improve over time.

This is to improve the health of the conversation and improve everyone's Twitter experience. Twitter also admitted that this is just one of several approaches meant to improve people's experiences on the platform, and that there will be "mistakes", "false positives", and "things we miss".

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