Twitter Suspends Hundreds Of Thousands Of Terrorist Accounts, Gives Everyone Its 'Quality Filter'

from the today-twitter-settles-all-its-business dept

Twitter's had a bit of a busy day. It made two big announcements within an hour, first saying that it had suspended 235,000 accounts since February for "promoting terrorism." It followed that up by announcing that it was opening up its "quality filter" for everyone. The quality filter used to only be available to "verified accounts" and was apparently one of the few actual benefits for being a "verified" account. Here's how Twitter explains it:
When turned on, the filter can improve the quality of Tweets you see by using a variety of signals, such as account origin and behavior. Turning it on filters lower-quality content, like duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated, from your notifications and other parts of your Twitter experience. It does not filter content from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with – and depending on your preferences, you can turn it on or off in your notifications settings.
From people who have it, they've indicated that it can do a decent, but not perfect, job in blocking purely trollish behavior. However, I still think that my own suggestion from last week makes more sense: rather than building a universal algorithm like this, give every user the tools to build their own quality filters (and to share the "recipes" of those filters). Not everyone has the same determination of what "quality" is. It's fine if Twitter wants to offer its own such filter, but why not open it up and let anyone create quality filters to use and share?

As for the removal of terrorist accounts, this still feels kind of pointless. Twitter talks about how it's getting faster at removing these accounts, and they're not able to build up many followers before they're shut down again, making Twitter a less useful platform for terrorist or terrorist supporters to use. But, again, if we think about Twitter as a protocol like email or a system like the telephone, this feels... weird. No one's clamoring for "we must stop ISIS from making phone calls." Besides, the intelligence community has said, repeatedly, that they get good intel from watching ISIS' social media activity. Shutting down their accounts may seem like a good thing (no one wants ISIS using their technology...), but what if it's actually making it more difficult for the intelligence community to track them?

Filed Under: abuse, isis, quality filter, social media, terrorism, trolls
Companies: twitter


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  1. icon
    Ninja (profile), 19 Aug 2016 @ 11:13am

    Re: Seriously Mike?

    A tweet, or a collection of them, with audio, video, text, links to other content, etc etc, that becomes a de facto platform for propaganda, disinformation, misinformation, or, if used properly, dissemination of useful information.

    And? You should be the one curating it? Maybe the Chinese? Many will disagree. I'd rather have things flowing and being countered by more speech instead of risking banning innocent users.

    Seems most of your argument hoovers around the brainwashing thing and how somebody must nanny the poor, dumb citizenry (including trump). Seems to me that you are the one that bought into the 'fear narrative' the Govts are touting to strip citizens of their rights.

    The espionage agency part is also wrong. He is pointing out that banning terrorist accounts helps nobody, even the intel. In no part he supported them.

    As some further reading to better enlighten you on nuances I personally liked this article. Trump goes beyond mere disinformation. The far right turn Europe is taking has deeper roots than mere disinformation.

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