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Twitter Asks For Help Fixing Its Toxicity Problem (engadget.com) 155

Engadget: Twitter has come under a lot of fire in recent years for issues ranging from not doing enough to stop harassment on its platform to allowing foreign actors to sow political discord. In the past, the company has tweaked its tools, giving individuals more options when it comes to controlling what they're exposed to online, as well as updated its guidelines a handful of times. But today, Twitter announced it's trying out another route -- asking people outside of the company to propose ways that it can promote healthy, open and civil conversations online. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted today that the company isn't proud of how some have taken advantage of its service, specifically calling out troll armies, misinformation campaigns and bots. And he added that Twitter has been accused of apathy, censorship and political bias as it has attempted to fix its problems.
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Twitter Asks For Help Fixing Its Toxicity Problem

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    asks the rest of us to solve their problems. Bravo.

  • "Toxic" is awfully poetic and hyperbolic.
    The leftists keep reaching for new ways to describe how awful it is when their feelings are hurt, and they are tearing the language to shreds as they do it.

    Perhaps it would be best of Twitter really was toxic.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      The more a brand and site wants to control the internet, the more the internet enjoys brands that promote freedom.
  • That would solve the problem..

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      Then you would have to deal with the remains being an EPA superfund site. But yes, nuke the site from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.
    • by zifn4b ( 1040588 )
      Can we do the same thing for Reddit too?
  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @11:15PM (#56203737) Homepage
    You are talking about a platform which has a character limit and has many anonymous individuals and where people can post without thinking. Any one of those by itself can lead to problems. All three together? They all contribute in the same direction: emotion and insult over calm and careful discussion.
    • which has a character limit and has many anonymous individuals and where people can post without thinking.

      They should implement a monetary value to tweet that scales quickly by IP address or some other metric.

      Slashdot gave moderation power to everyone, but only in small quantities. It's worked rather well.

      • Some countries have a disproportionately small allocation of IPv4 address space. Home ISPs in those countries may put hundreds of subscribers behind one IP address using so-called carrier-grade network address translation (CGNAT). Cellular ISPs worldwide use CGNAT as well.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      There is an much easier to control twitter. So much easier. Keep in mind, twitter is all about the empty squawks of twits, like screeching birds in the morning (of which I get enough with the rainbow lorikeets in their fig tree in my yard), hence I have no need for the twits on twitter. Just like that bird chatter, why record it all forever, at lot of Twitters problems would be solved quit simply be letting the tweets die in the wind. Simply put a life on tweets, no longer permanent, simply transitory. This

      • by nashv ( 1479253 )

        Yes, but that also takes away whatever little value Twitter has as a platform for statements 'straight from the source'. At least, that is the main reason the media and many people are on Twitter - a way to communicate with the person in charge, the company you're dealing with directly. Anything tweeted cannot be ascribed to any of the middlemen journalists screwing it up with incorrect reporting etc.

        Giving tweets a lifespan, automatically makes every statement effectively retracted after the said time span

    • by doom ( 14564 )

      You are talking about a platform which has a character limit and has many anonymous individuals and where people can post without thinking. Any one of those by itself can lead to problems. All three together? They all contribute in the same direction: emotion and insult over calm and careful discussion.

      Nice to see someone said the obvious right out of the gate. To take it a step farther: twitter is completely incapable of doing anything at all that might reduce it's traffic (it was like, just last quart

  • This time he will strike us all down for our impunity.

  • by Bender Unit 22 ( 216955 ) on Saturday March 03, 2018 @11:25PM (#56203759) Journal

    And “toxic” to the left and right on many social media sites.
    Most social media suffers from that because the way they function are a popularity contest and you get more likes when being a cunt towards outside your group and being a decent human being.
    But Twitter’s format are even worse because it is best suited for short snarky comments.

  • specifically calling out troll armies, misinformation campaigns and bots.

    So basically, they're going after the Trump base.

  • Want to get rid of the toxicity? Start by firing Anita Sarkeesian from Google's so-called “Trust and Safety Council [battleswarmblog.com].” Twitter's politically unbalanced, SJW-inspired suspensions and shadowbans are destroying Twitter shareholder value.

    Clean your own house first. Then you can start worrying about the "toxicity" of others.

    (What, no story about the outage [battleswarmblog.com]?)

    • Find some pragmatism, fast.
      You are telling a criminal organization to clean its house.

      No, WE have to clean house. This corporate plutocracy is aiming to destroy our society completely, and they are not going to leave peacefully.
      Civil war is inevitable.

    • And that's exactly the problem right there. Politically driving assholes trying to use their positions of power to suppresses view points they don't like.

      After all, a clearly laid out TOS that get's evenly reinforced would solve 90% of your problems. But the moment when you begin to give an unaccoutable secretive group of enforces power over the rest of the platform you will eventually end up with some levels of abuse.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        A lot of people misunderstand what Twitter's goal is. They are not trying to 4chan without the doxing and porn. They actually want to get rid of the Nazis and are looking for ways to do it effectively. Most of their users don't want Nazis there, believe it or not.

        I know, I know, what about free speech and the marketplace of ideas? It's a question of the greater good. Look at Reddit, it got a lot better when most of the really nasty stuff was pushed on to Voat. That's the reality here, if you want really goo

        • by Cederic ( 9623 )

          Most of their users don't want Nazis there, believe it or not.

          Most of their users don't want fuckwits that post #PunchANazi or #KillAllMen on there either, but those are the cunts Twitter chose to run their Trust and Safety Council.

          if you want really good discussions and debates then there has to be some limit on the trolling and abuse

          So why don't Twitter act to prevent it - from all sides on the political debates.

          • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

            Most of their users don't want fuckwits that post #PunchANazi or #KillAllMen on there either, but those are the cunts Twitter chose to run their Trust and Safety Council.

            Would be more convincing if you named them, perhaps with a link to when they said those things.

            Having said that, I'm not sure punching Nazis is all that objectionable.

        • They actually want to get rid of the Nazis and are looking for ways to do it effectively.

          Yes, because there totally is a real problem with 1930s style socialism loving German nationalist on Twitter. Oh, of course I know that's what you mean. What you mean to say that everyone you don't agree with is Hitler.

          Hey, if you're going to go full blown Godwin's law right off the bat that I'm not going to treat you with any respect or credibly. Especially when you're going to start citing every single retarded t

          • What you mean to say that everyone you don't agree with is Hitler.

            I'm pretty sure he meant the white supremacists pretty much everyone has been calling Nazis for well over half a century. Except you and some other weird Slashdotters of late who have suddenly decided now's the time to insist there's some meaningful difference between the various groups normally put under that umbrella.

            And he's right. Pretty much nobody (outside of the Nazis themselves) wants Nazis on Twitter, and they're there, and give

            • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

              I meant literal Nazis. They kindly wear swastikas to make themselves more easily identifiable.

    • He said SJW, hurrrrrrr

    • Want to get rid of the toxicity? Start by firing Anita Sarkeesian from Google's so-called "Trust and Safety Council."

      A feemale with opinions so dangerous that twitter can be fixed by firing her from uh... google.

      Hoo boy do you not like the freeze peach when it's not something you agree with!

    • Here's the thing that has to really scare Silicon Valley: back on February 17, 2011, President Obama (along with his most trusted adviser, Valerie Jarrett) held a private dinner in San Francisco. Among those in attendance were the then-CEO's of Apple, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Oracle Systems, Twitter and Yahoo! (there is even a picture of a dinner toast from that dinner published by the White House press office).

      We're not sure what was privately discussed at that dinner, but if we find out

      • by doom ( 14564 )

        .. back on February 17, 2011, President Obama ... held a private dinner in San Francisco. ... We're not sure what was privately discussed at that dinner,

        Considering that 2012 was an election year, I'm pretty sure it was:

        Obama: Give me money.

        Glad to solve this one for you.

  • The peak outrage period from the Google censorship rampage has passed, it's finally safe to re-enable posting!

  • The leftists mostly have commented here as anonymous cowards while the more conservative replies are from logged in folks. Says a lot.

    • Get back in the pile. They tuk yer jerbs!!!!

      • Who would've thought that throwing large numbers of people out of work to make corporations more money would've led to social unrest. It's very sad that someone on the left would think that is a laughing matter. President Trump got where he is thanks to the left abandoning the working class. Absolutely hilarious.

    • Just pop into any story about gender or race issues and you'll find no shortage of logged in (and not brand new) users who have gone full-SJW with denying facts, calling facts racist/sexist, labeling anyone disagreeing as supporting rape/discrimination, and just generally fully embracing overtly false representations to push the narrative. They make those pushing back against that kind of stuff seem conservative, but that's really not the case. You don't have to be conservative to not go batshit insane and
    • by doom ( 14564 )
      Perhaps the worst thing that slashdot has contributed to our on-line culture is the idea that not-logged-in means the same thing as "anonymous". Slashdot accounts are not tied to meatspace. Nothing prevents a brigade of fanatics and shills from opening a gazillion accounts under a gazillion different handles. They're all anonymous, because email is anonymous, because gmail, yahoo mail, etc are all anonymous.
  • Just ban System of a Down from Twitter, all your Toxicity posts will go away!

    ... my hayday was the 90s, I'm lost on this shit.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Maybe they can try to be more like Slashdot where the comments are always civil. : p

  • 'Toxicity', 'Problematic'... these are code words for feeling-hurting speech. They're asking how they can have a kumbaya and a feeling-fest? Well, obviously, make it non-anonymous first. Then make people have to verify their identity to join and post, then finally make them show their democratic voting card. Oh, wait, if you make people actually verify themselves on Twitter, that would wipe out 70% of the accounts and expose the over-inflated user counts that Twitter boasts to it's investors. You can't
  • There are times in which hate speech is called for such as when an administration is corrupt and filled with criminal activities that approach a charge of treason. What amounts to a call for patriots to be active in driving out such an administration may seem like vile hate speech to others. Yet the last thing we would want is to have the public not contacting each other and help to wind ways to force such people out of office. Look at the hate speech that was used in the denial of Obama being born i
    • Ahh, yes. Tell us how Ms. Clinton is so pure for having hundreds of Top Secret and Classified e-mails [wikipedia.org] on an unsecured server, whilst others in the Government [theguardian.com] are jailed for 6 photos. ANY reasonable person would have concluded she should have at least been charged, if not convicted, of gross negligence for the handling of sensitive information.
      • by doom ( 14564 )

        Like much of the American public, I wish you guys would shut up about her emails already.

        If you want to talk about something relevant: Hillary sent hired Brock-puppets out on the net to try to manipulate public opinion during the 2016 primary--

        Am I the last person in the United States who remembers this and finds it offensive? Yes, it sucks that the Russian can manipulate "social media" (maybe: "anti-social media"), but it isn't a Good Thing when someone else does it, either.

        • Oh, I remember about her doing that. But that is not illegal. Keeping classified and top secret information on your own personal computers IS illegal. I'd rather we start with actual crimes before we break down to "I don't like it so I should complain about it" things that you may feel are in poor form - but are completely legal.
          • by doom ( 14564 )

            Yeah, maybe it was illegal, maybe it wasn't, and maybe it was a technical violation that no one in their right mind would care about and maybe it wasn't, the point isn't relevant. It has nothing to do with anything in the present discussion, and it has nothing to do with anything actually going on in the present-day world because HILLARY IS NOT PRESIDENT.

            Getting the government to be more or less fussy about transparency rules and/or classified information (if any) will not fix social media.

            On the other han

            • Twitter can do what it wants - it's a private company. When the Government starts censorship - that's an issue. And when the Government has one set of rules for us and another set for our "superiors" - THAT is a huge problem. Some animals are more equal than others, and it always seems those on the political left prefer it that way.
              • by doom ( 14564 )

                Twitter can do what it wants - it's a private company. When the Government starts censorship - that's an issue.

                Allow me to quote the article under discussion:

                Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted today that the company isn't proud of how some have taken advantage of its service, specifically calling out troll armies, misinformation campaigns and bots.

                Taking Jack Dorsey at his word, what can Twitter possibly do to reign in these problems and still remain Twitter? I would suggest the answer is next-to-nothing

  • The same EPR (Earned Public Reputation) that could improve Slashdot could be used to improve Twitter. I even wrote up a proposal in their weird system. However I'm not holding my breath waiting for Twitter to become useful.

    AtAJG, DSAuPR.

    • They're doing it in China already.

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        I didn't know that, but I'll try to find the link you didn't include...

        Now I have mixed feelings about my suggestion. Yes, the Chinese are smart and clever enough, but I have some serious ethical concerns about how they use the technologies. The technologies themselves remain morally neutral.

        Just because the Chinese don't worship the gawd of profit the way they do, doesn't insure they have a better idea.

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        Is this what you were talking about: https://www.wired.com/story/ag... [wired.com]

        If so, it is quite far from what I am recommending with EPR, though such a metric could be one of the relevant dimensions in certain contexts.

    • Now Slashdot got invaded by enough alt-right to drive off people like me who didn't want to read self-entitled hating teenagers. So that might need to be taking into account.

      (Reading /. for the 3rd time in 2 years.)

      • by shanen ( 462549 )

        Not sure if that qualifies as a request for additional details on the suggestion, but I admit that it's a touchy point. I don't think it would be good to use such dimensions as conservative versus progressive or gun friendly versus anti-gun. Basically a can of worms, but it also reflects my philosophy that I want to be open to differing perspectives as long as they aren't coming from a intellectually dishonest Sophist, a crooked salesperson, or some other flavor of liar.

        I tend to think that Slashdot should

  • Do the world a favour and shut it down.

    • by Megane ( 129182 )
      At least require a warning label. Something like "WARNING: This web site contains opinions known to the State of California to cause social cancer and brain defects or other rhetorical harm."
  • To have any suggestions to improve it.... only twits use twitter... sorry.
  • Only then anyone will consider Twitte's intents seriously.
    • Twitter won't do it because the then-CEO of the company, Dick Costolo, was an attendee of that private dinner held by President Obama (along with his most-trusted adviser, Valerie Jarrett) back on February 17, 2011 along with the CEO's of Apple, Cisco Systems, Facebook, Google, Netflix, Oracle Systems and Yahoo!. Trump could use that dinner meeting to open a major investigation of all eight companies I mentioned in a First Amendment free speech lawsuit, since all eight companies have corporate headquarters

  • Quit catering to pussies. Let people block and then quit trying to censor people into being Stepford users online. If someone doesn't like something some mean person says, they can block. Otherwise stay the hell out of people's way. Trying to cram everybody into the snowflake generation will never be easy, will never work well and will always screw someone out of an opinion.
  • If one tolerates bad manners, they grow worse. Our pleasant habitat could decay into the sort of slum Elli-Five is, with crowding and unmannerly behavior and unnecessary noise and impolite language. I must find the oaf who did this thing, explain to him his offense, give him a chance to apologize, and kill him.

  • No need for all of Twitter's abusive censorship.

  • But censors even the most moderate conservatives.

    Conservatives have been banned for opinions, and facts. Even when done so in perfectly polite manner.

    Tweets promoting killing Trump, killing all police, and killing all whites, are all over twitter.

  • The problem Twitter has is the same problem inherent to every platform (Slashdot, Reddit included) which ascribes value to any statement/opinion based on what people think of it. Any such upvote/downvote/trending/retweet/like system tends to select the *popular* opinion, not the correct solution.

    Now it would be all good if this was done by automated bots and computers who run multiple simulations to check objective validity and then in some statistical measure determine that the solution supported by the ma

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