Twitter tests safety mode feature to silence abuse

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Twitter is launching a safety feature that it feels will help reduce abuse and trolling which have become huge issues for the platform.

This feature will flag accounts using hateful remarks, or those bombarding people with uninvited comments, and block them for seven days.

Once turned the safety mode would work automatically by taking the burden off users to deal with unwanted tweets.

It will initially be tested on a small group of users.

Users can enable the safety mode in settings. The system will assess both the tweet’s content and the relationship between the tweet author and replier.

And the accounts that are followed by the user or frequently interacted with, will not be auto blocked.

Katy Minshall, head of Twitter UK Public Policy, said:

“While we have made strides in giving people greater control over their safety experience on Twitter, there is always more to be done.

“We’re introducing Safety Mode; a feature that allows you to automatically reduce disruptive interactions on Twitter, which in turn improves the health of the public conversation.”

Just like other social media platforms, Twitter also relies on a combination of automated and human moderation.

But it has never formally said how many human moderators it uses.

According to a 2020 report by New York business school, NYU Stern suggested that it had about 1,500 to cope with the 199 million daily Twitter users worldwide.

A recent study on hate speech produced by Facts Against Hate on behalf of the Finnish government found that Twitter was “the worst of the tech giants” when it came to hate speech.

Study author Dr Mari-Sanna Paukkeri says the answer to this is to utilise artificial intelligence systems which have been trained by humans.

“There are so many different ways to say bad things, and it is rocket science to build tools that can spot these,” she said.

She added – simply highlighting certain words or phrases, a technique many social networks rely on, was not sufficient.

Alongside dealing with abuse on the platform, Twitter has become more determined to crack down on misinformation.

 

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