A new Twitter feature could allow a user to rethink possibly mean or offensive responses to tweets before they post them.
Users are informed that they may be sending a response “in the heat of the moment” and suggests that they review their choice.
Twitter says it hopes that it will stop users that may be inclined to spread offensive language on the platform after the firm was criticised for not doing enough to combat it.
Last year, Twitter began experimenting with notification settings giving users the option to rethink potentially rude responses before posting them.
“We began testing prompts last year that encouraged people to pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply — such as insults, strong language, or hateful remarks — before Tweeting it,” Twitter said in a blog post. “Once prompted, people had an opportunity to take a moment and make edits, delete, or send the reply as is.
“In early tests, people were sometimes prompted unnecessarily because the algorithms powering the prompts struggled to capture the nuance in many conversations and often didn’t differentiate between potentially offensive language, sarcasm, and friendly banter.
“Throughout the experiment process, we analysed results, collected feedback from the public, and worked to address our errors, including detection inconsistencies.”
You had feedback about prompts to revise a reply so we made updates:
▪️ If you see a prompt, it’ll include more info on why you received it
▪️ We’ve improved how we consider the context of the conversation before showing a prompt
This is now testing on Android, iOS, and web. pic.twitter.com/rxdttI1zK2
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) August 10, 2020
Tests revealed that people were less likely to send harmful replies across the service, and user behaviour was generally improved. Data from the research showed that 34% of people revised their initial reply or decided to not send their reply at all once promoted.
Additionally, after being prompted once, people composed 11% fewer offensive replies in the future and were less likely to receive offensive and harmful replies back.
The new Twitter feature is likely an attempt by the social media platform to stamp out negative communication. Twitter has become a hotbed of offensive and harmful language over the last few years.
Currently, the platform gives users free rein to post and respond to other users, something which Twitter was heralded for on its release but is now increasingly being seen as a dangerous social precedent.
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Last year, in the run-up to the US Presidential election, Twitter was increasingly used by hate groups and former-President Donald Trump himself to spread misinformation, which Twitter attempted to combat through the use of fact-checking flags.
At the time, President Trump accused Twitter of “stifling free speech” after including fact-checking links on a series of his misleading tweets, an issue that may become also become a sticking point with this new feature in the future.
CEO Jack Dorsey was one of the big tech firm leaders to be grilled by the US Senate on 17th November last year to face questions over their companies’ role in the US election.
An ideological and political divide saw Republican senators examine the role of censorship in social media, especially towards US President Donald Trump, while Democrats questioned the role of social media in the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories.