In a surefire move that’ll surely curb internet bullying, Twitter announced on Tuesday that it is tweaking its algorithm to hide replies from trolls.
The update is a way to “proactively address” obnoxious users that don’t violate its policies, but nevertheless “negatively impact the health of the conversation,” according to Twitter.
Here’s how it’ll work: Twitter is using an array of data to rearrange how users see replies to conversations and search results. Tweets will now be ranked on several factors, including whether the user has recently opened many new accounts or regularly tweets about users who don’t follow them back. Most of the ranking tools are not “visible externally,” according to Twitter.
Instead of being deleted, these banished tweets will be cast into Twitter hell — aka the “show more replies” section at the bottom of reply threads.
“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,” said Del Harvey, VP of Trust and Safety, and David Gasca, VP of Product Management and Health, in a blog post announcing the changes.
The execs said more than 50 percent of tweets reported for abuse stem from less than 1 percent of active accounts. Now, the company is looking to restrict crass comments before they’re ever flagged. Twitter said the update has paid off so far, with abuse reports down 8 percent in the markets where it’s been tested.
For Twitter, the update is the latest attempt to make its massive platform more hospitable. Last month, the company replaced its pistol emoji with a water gun icon, following the Parkland shooting. Twitter also updated its rules in late 2017, banning accounts that make “specific threats of violence or wishing for serious physical harm, death, or disease to an individual or group of people.”