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Twitter cracks down on bots, but not ‘fake news’

Twitter has announced that it is deepening its efforts to eradicate bots on its platform, but is letting its users figure out what is or isn’t “fake news.”

The company is expanding its team and resources when it comes to spam so that bots can no longer clutter the search feature or manipulate trending topics. It is also building new tools and processes to help counter their efforts.

VP of Public Policy Colin Crowell writes that it is necessary to detect “spammy behaviours” at the source. This includes looking for accounts who post numerous tweets at once.

Accounts that are put under investigation have their visibility reduced, and are suspended when found guilty of “suspicious activity.”

‘We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth’

The company is loathe to divulge all the behaviours it deems spam, because once its method is known it can be more easily circumvented by coders. Twitter acknowledges that this may affect third party researchers, but says its own effectiveness comes first.

This effectiveness is rooted in “keeping people informed,” but Crowell asserts that it is the role of the users to monitor what is or isn’t true on the platform.

“We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth,” he writes. “Journalists, experts and engaged citizens tweet side-by-side correcting and challenging public discourse in seconds.”

He adds that the platform’s algorithm will favour “the highest quality and most relevant content and context first.”

He does not specify what the highest quality content entails.

Author | Julia Breakey

Julia Breakey
Julia is a UCT film graduate with a passion for dogs, media, and dog-centric media. If she's not gushing about the new television show that you need to watch, she's rewatching The Good Place (which you need to watch). More
  • Patty

    What a MESS. Twitter may be looking for bots, but they’ve managed to send these messages, via email, to myself & many friends. They also locked me out of my account. Considering its a daily toss up if the app will work this added aggravation is just going to send people running away. Twitter (desperately) needs to get it together.

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