Twitter Pressures Users to Self-Censor ‘Offensive’ Replies to Tweets
REUTERS / DADO RUVICTech21:55 GMT 05.05.2021Get short URL101Subscribe International

The Twitter team behind new “prompts” to users over replies that its artificial intelligence moderator has deemed offensive said they were so effective that it caused a third of users to either edit or delete their posts.

Twitter has introduced a new feature to pressure users to self-censor their replies to posts on the social media network.

In a blog post titled: “tweeting with consideration”, the Twitter product design director, Anita Butler, and a product manager, Alberto Parrella, said the new warning messages to users before tweeting their replies would be put into force beginning Wednesday — targeting English-language accounts first.

Twitter began testing “prompts” last year to “encourage” users to “pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply — such as insults, strong language, or hateful remarks — before Tweeting it.”

The effect on users was striking. The team found that 34 percent of users either edited their replies or didn’t send them at all in response to the warning messages. And after their first warning, users afterword wrote 11 percent fewer “offensive” replies.

The Twitter employees claimed that those who self-censor were less likely to get “offensive and harmful” replies in return.

The pair said Twitter was refining its system to monitor users’ relationships with each other, based on how much they interact with each other, to fine-tune the trigger threshold.

Fellow Big Tech social media giant Facebook has a similar feature in place. It hauls up users when they click ‘post’ on a comment that its automated monitoring system flags as potentially against “community standards”. The poster is given three options: “Edit Comment,” “Ignore” or “Delete Comment”.

The Former US president, Donald Trump, who was banned by both Twitter and Facebook earlier this year, threatened to remove the ‘Section 230’ protections enjoyed by social networking sites against being sued for libel posted by users — arguing their censorship rules made them more akin to edited publications than open-access platforms.



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