Twitter Deploys Draconian Shadowban Filter

 05/16/2018 10:06 AM MDT
Credit: Public Domain

Conservative Twitter users are in an uproar over draconian new "behavioral filters" which will start hiding tweets that "detract from the conversation," and which CEO Jack Dorsey says are designed to "significantly reduce the ability to game and skew our systems" (less than six months before midterms, we might add).


Twitter will now use thousands of behavioral signals when filtering search, replies, and algorithmic recommendations. If it believes you are trying to game its system, or simply acting like a jerk, it will push your tweets lower down. It’s the biggest update so far in the company’s push to create healthier conversations, an initiative announced by its CEO Jack Dorsey in March.

Among the signals Twitter will use: whether you tweet at large numbers of accounts you don’t follow, how often you’re blocked by people you interact with, whether you created many accounts from a single IP address, and whether your account is closely related to others that have violated its terms of service. -BuzzFeed

“A lot of our past action has been content-based, and we have been shifting more and more toward conduct and behaviors on the system,” Dorsey said in a Monday briefing at the company’s San Francisco headquarters. 

The push is meant to get out ahead of problems that might normally result in an abuse report under the existing system. In testing, Twitter said the changes led to an 8% drop in abuse reports on conversations (the discussions that happen in the replies to a tweet) and a 4% drop in abuse reports in search. These drops, the company believes, indicate that something is working. 

“Directionally, it does point to probably our biggest impact change,” Dorsey said. “This is a step, but we can see this going quite far.”

lol, Twitter is going to start shadowbanning accounts who even follow/talk to people who violate their terms of service.

What a brilliant plan.

— DatNoFact (@datnofact) May 15, 2018

Dorsey says he will do a periscope soon about the changes. 

Will do a periscope about this soon.

Our ultimate goal is to encourage more free and open conversation. To do that we need to significantly reduce the ability to game and skew our systems. Looking at behavior, not content, is the best way to do that.

— jack (@jack) May 15, 2018

So now Twitter is planning to censor any tweets reported "for abuse?"


So armies of #Sorosbots can mass report any Trump supporter "for abuse," and just like that, we're gone?

No check to see if the tweet was actually "abusive," whatever that means?

— Bill Mitchell (@mitchellvii) May 15, 2018

No. The point of this is to stop such gaming of our systems.

— jack (@jack) May 15, 2018

Sounds great Jack!


"You get a shadowban, and you get a shadowban, and-"

— DatNoFact (@datnofact) May 15, 2018

Facebook, meanwhile, is beefing up its reporting tools within the Messenger app. 

An app update for Messenger includes enhanced reporting tools - allowing mobile users to report harassment or someone who isn't who they say they are (or jerk ex boyfriends). Users can find the new option in the Contact menu for each messenger conversation by tapping on the name of the person inside the chat, scrolling down to the "Something's Wrong" option, and choosing from a list of offenses to report. 

“Providing more granular reporting options in Messenger makes it faster and easier to report things for our Community Operations team to review,” write Hadi Michel, Messenger product manager. “They review reports in over 50 languages. This means our community will see issues addressed faster so they can continue to have positive experiences on Messenger.”

One can imagine how much fun High Schoolers and your average Tinder users are going to have with this reporting feature every time they get dumped, doubled-crossed or otherwise made upset.

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