Twitter Getting Savvier About Eliminating Trolls

To better manage trolls on its platform, Twitter says it’s beginning to analyze the unique behavior of individual accounts.

Among other suspicious behavior, the company is looking out for accounts that don’t confirm their email addresses, along with instances of multiple accounts being created simultaneously. It's also monitoring accounts that repeatedly tweet and mention accounts with which they have no other connection.

Del Marvey, vice president of trust and safety, and David Gasca, director of product management and health at Twitter, explained the new tactic in a blog post on Tuesday.

“We’re also looking at how accounts are connected to those that violate our rules, and how they interact with each other,” they explain. “There are many new signals we’re taking in, most of which are not visible externally.”

The signals will now be considered in how Twitter organizes and presents content in communal areas, like conversation and search, according to the duo.

Yet, because a good deal of troll-like activity doesn’t technically violate Twitter’s terms and policies, it will not actually be banned from the platform.

For Twitter, the changes are part of a broader effort to inspire a “healthier” and friendlier environment. And, while Marvey and Gasca acknowledge their work is far from done, they said early tests are promising.  

Among select users in markets around the world, the changes resulted in a 4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations, according to Twitter.

Already, Twitter employs a slew of detailed policies, human review processes, and machine learning to determine how tweets are organized and presented across its platform.

Additionally, following Facebook’s lead, Twitter recently began encouraging a public conversation about its impact on the health of individuals and society at large.

“We’re committing Twitter to help increase the collective health, openness and civility of public conversation — and to hold ourselves publicly accountable towards progress,” CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted at the time.

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