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. identicon
    Kenpachi, 21 Aug 2016 @ 10:21am

    Re: Re: Seriously Mike?

    "Twitter, as well as all the other private platforms, can do what it likes."

    First, establishing your "credentials" as a free speech libertarian, in an attempt to portray yourself as righteous and just, so you can legitimize your very next statement:

    "I am very opposed to the idea that censoring propaganda, etc., is a good and desirable thing. It's the direct opposite of that."

    Ultimate face-palm. The very utterance of that whole statement hurts my brain. That should appear in every dictionary when looking for the quintessential example of Doublespeak.

    "If Twitter (or whoever) is shutting down accounts because they're abusive, consist of violent threats, etc., then I congratulate them."

    I'm going to stop right here in deconstructing your words and statements, I refuse to entertain your outlook on the world as holding any value whatsoever. I'll just leave everyone with the following thought:

    Your entire response, word for word, is perfectly consistent with the discourse we could (and do hear) from any terrorist leader, leftist political authority currently holding a political position, and rabid feminist wanna-be authoritarians.

    And people at large wonder where all the backlash, resistance and criticism are coming from.

    But let your statement sink in for a moment. Read again your whole statement and engage in this simple thought experiment: picture an ISIS leader, or a leftist European politician or a rabid feminist, standing in front of a podium, and lecturing the citizenry at large, reciting your comment verbatim.

    Both the structure and meaning of your words is 100% consistent with the social, emotional and psychological rhetorical warfare they try to impose in Western Democratic Societies. Words like yours is what we hear from these actors every chance a microphone passes near them.

    Totalitarians, Authoritarians, Fascist, will never win a battle of ideas, and can never win a clash of cultures, not even by the use of force. So now they resort to other more subtle tactics to undermine democratic values and the foundations of the only form of human organization that can provide true freedom and any chance at prosperity and realization to each individual and societies at large.

    The separation of State and Religion; A clear and independent establishment of three branches of government, legislative, judicial and executive branches are there for a reason. Parliament, Congress, an executive chain of command. A Supreme Court, and all other courts below it. All institutions to prevent the rise of tyrants and wanna-be genocides.

    And now, well into the 21st century, we are witnessing yet again a relentless attack on the only form of organization that has any chance at ensuring the advancement of humankind. Representative Democracy is far from perfect: it's plagued with its worst parasites, corruption, impunity and bureaucracy. But it's the best system human kind could come up with so far. Either that or carnage ensues. That's History in a nutshell.

    But please, don't mind me pointing out your disgraceful views. Say hi to George Orwell and Franz Kafka if you see them in the afterlife. I'm sure you'd take their words literally, and take them as instruction manuals to build your ideal world, where terrorist SHOULD have not one, but any and all platforms, to spread their propaganda and political agenda, and YOU celebrate that.

    SMFH

    This is a more appropriate response to your views, and with far more patience than I could ever muster. And please, change that hair cut.

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