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Twitter is pretty sure you could all be a littler nicer.
The social media company that’s practically synonymous with trolls today announced an effort aimed at making its platform a more civil place. Specifically, a limited subset of iOS users will be presented with a gentle nudge when attempting to tweet potentially harmful trash.
Of course, it’s not exactly clear what Twitter considers to be said harmful trash.
“When things get heated, you may say things you don’t mean,” read the announcement. “To let you rethink a reply, we’re running a limited experiment on iOS with a prompt that gives you the option to revise your reply before it’s published if it uses language that could be harmful.”
When things get heated, you may say things you don’t mean. To let you rethink a reply, we’re running a limited experiment on iOS with a prompt that gives you the option to revise your reply before it’s published if it uses language that could be harmful.
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) May 5, 2020
Importantly, Twitter is not preventing anyone from sending the tweet in question. Rather, it will offer a dialogue box with the stated goal of making you think hard about whatever you’re in the process of tweeting. And only if it’s a reply to another tweet.
Author Chuck Wendig apparently triggered the warning intentionally in response to the news.
“Language like this could lead to someone reporting your reply,” read the Twitter pop-up box he shared. “But you can change it before sending.”
According to Reuters, the test starts today and runs “at least a few weeks” for English-language tweets. Sunita Saligram, Twitter’s global head of site policy for trust and safety, explained the thinking behind the test.
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“We’re trying to encourage people to rethink their behavior and rethink their language before posting,” she told Reuters, “because they often are in the heat of the moment and they might say something they regret.”
It’s unclear what effect, if any, this mini talking-to will have on harmful-language inclined posters, but at least when Twitter suspends their account no one will be able to say they weren’t warned.