Twitter begins filtering out trolls by hiding away their tweets

Tyrone Stewart

Twitter abuseTwitter has made a big change to the way it manages troll accounts on its microblogging platform – by making the posts of offenders less visible.

The change means that accounts that do not violate Twitter’s rules, but continue to be disruptive and a nuisance to fellow users, will feature less prominently in conversations and search. To find this filtered troll content, users will have to click on ‘show more replies’ or choose to see everything in their search results.

The way in which Twitter is detecting these trolls is via ‘behavioural signals’ that show an account to display the characteristics of a typical troll on the platform. Signals include not having a confirmed email address, signing up for multiple accounts simultaneously, accounts that repeatedly tweet and mention accounts that don’t follow them, and other behaviour that may indicate a coordinated attack. In addition, Twitter says it will look at how these accounts are linked to the once that actually violate its policies.

According to the microblogging site, its early testing of the approach has seen a four per cent drop in abuse reports from search and an eight per cent decline in reports from conversations.

“Our work is far from done. This is only one part of our work to improve the health of the conversation and to make everyone’s Twitter experience better,” said Del Harvey, VP of trust and safety at Twitter, and David Gasca, director of product management for health at Twitter, in a blog post. “We’re encouraged by the results we’ve seen so far, but also recognize that this is just one step on a much longer journey to improve the overall health of our service and your experience on it.”