Twitter rehearses a "transparent" censorship function | Technology

Twitter rehearses a "transparent" censorship function | Technology


Twitter will experience from June a new function that will hide answers to messages that are considered inappropriate. Until now, the social network allowed to silence a user, block it or erase its message. The new option will only send the response that is deemed inappropriate to a virtual drawer, which can be consulted, but will require a more complex route. It is a form of censorship exercised by the author of the message, but transparent to remain visible.

The new function has been officially announced by Donald Hicks, vice president of the company, and David Gasca, product manager. "We think of conversations as an ecosystem with different groups: the author [del mensaje], who respond, the audience and the platform. We try to balance the experience through the four groups and explore how to adjust it without overcorrection, "explains the company's board Michelle Yasmeen Haq in an open Twitter line to explain the project.

"Some users try to keep a conversation in a healthy way by blocking, silencing or reporting, but these tools do not always solve the problem." The block only affects the experience of the person who activates it and the report only works with the content that violates the Twitter policy. ", admits the also responsible for health in the social network.

With the new function, the answer does not disappear completely but will be visible through another option that will be incorporated into the menu. The objective is to help the author of the original message filter offensive or irrelevant responses to the conversation, which will maintain those that are meaningful or appropriate. "They often accuse us of giving the trolls [personas que publican mensajes provocadores, irrelevantes o fuera de tema] too much freedom, "Haq justifies.

Example of the layout of options icons with the new functions.
Example of the layout of options icons with the new functions.

The problem with this option is if it allows, for example, that the account of a political party hide those discrepant messages with their postulates. This is the reason why they will be allowed to be consulted, but not directly in the open thread.

"To avoid misuse," the hidden answers will be marked in red and will be stored in an accessible space through the Hidden Tuits icon, which users who want to read them will have to reach.

"We think that transparency with hidden answers will allow the community to realize when this function is used to censor contents with which they do not agree," says Haq.

In the announcement of the test date, Hicks and Gasca take stock of the work done on Twitter to eliminate abuse, spam and other actions contrary to public conversation. In this sense, the two managers claim to have eliminated 38% of the abusive content so far this year and have deleted 100,000 suspicious accounts, 45% more than in the same period of 2018.

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