It's machines vs trolls as Twitter unveils new plan to silence abusers

Twitter to start hiding comments from suspected 'trolls' in conversations

However, if they don't violate Twitter rules, they will still be visible if people click on "show more replies", the company said.

When it's identified troll-like behavior, Twitter will place the user in a sort of quarantine.

In March, Twitter sought proposals from academics and others to help gauge the "health of public conversations". "The challenge for us has been how can we proactively address these disruptive behaviours that do not violate our policies but negatively impact the health of the conversation?"

Twitter said that it now uses policies, human review processes and machine learning to determine how tweets are organised and presented in communal areas such as conversations and search.

"There are many new signals we're taking in, most of which are not visible externally", said Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety, and David Gasca, director of product management, health, in a blog post titled "Serving Healthy Conversation".

The social media platform is now "integrating new behavior signals into how Tweets are presented" if an account in question hasn't confirmed its authenticity through an email address, if the same person signs up for multiple accounts all around the same time, for "accounts that repeatedly Tweet and mention accounts that don't follow them" or for actions that seem to be "a coordinated attack".

To weed out unhealthy contributions to Twitter conversations, the platform's algorithm and human reviewers will look for certain signals, including how often a user is blocked by people they interact with, whether they have created multiple accounts from a single IP address, and whether the account is closely related to others that have violated the company's terms of service.

We don't know what Twitter will look like after this change, but the company says it's seen positive results in early testing, "resulting in a 4% drop in abuse reports from search and 8% fewer abuse reports from conversations". That means fewer people are seeing Tweets that disrupt their experience on Twitter. The hope is that by understanding what makes a Twitter conversation healthy, the company can promote methods to foster more worthwhile tweets rather than their bellicose counterparts.

"Our work is far from done", said Harvey and Gasca. There will be false positives and things that we miss; our goal is to learn fast and make our processes and tools smarter.

The company said that this is just one of other steps it is taking to weed out abuse. "We are making progress as we go", Dorsey said.

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