Twitter has been very committed over the last few years to end abuse and spam on its platform. Although the social media giant has made significant progress towards fixing objective, there are still many cases of toxicity on a day to day basis. In order to change this, the social media company is enlisting the services of university experts to help identify where these issues are coming from and how to get rid of them once and for all.
Twitter had announced back in March that it was looking for experts to help measure how toxic the platform had become. The experts were also to use what they learn to suggest solutions moving forward. The company urged universities and other experts to apply for this call noting that the finalists will be announced sometime in July. Twitter said that it has received over 230 proposals and that out of those the winners included two professors from the Syracuse University in New York. There was also a professor from Italy’s Bocconi University as well as professors from a Dutch-based university and Delft University.
The team will be headed by Dr. Rebekah Tromble, an assistant professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Dr. Tromble largely focuses on politics and social media. The team will be looking at how speech is generated on Twitter. The professors will also build on research done by Leiden University. The study revealed that when people gather to speak about things they agree on, they tend to hate those who are not engaged or invested in the same discussions.
The team is also expected to create an algorithm designed to monitor conversations and flag them if they veer off towards “intolerance.” Twitter feels that there’s an opportunity at the moment to stamp out hate speech on its platform and the most important thing is to have a clear understanding of where it’s coming from. The research is a little bit complicated because it will involve analyzing human behavior in a very dynamic and fluid environment. A second team will join the research at a second time to help corroborate and diversify findings.
Cases of bullying, hate speech, fake news, and toxicity are not uncommon in social media platforms. However, Twitter has had the biggest share of these cases over the last few years. The company made a commitment to stamp out these incidents and in recent months it has been putting in place a number of measures to address the issue. This is the first time that the social media platform is incorporating the services of third-party consultants to help with its anti-bullying and anti-hate speech push.
It’s not clear how much the company is spending on this research. We are also not sure when the study will end. However, in most cases, such fluid and complicated studies tend to take quite a long time. Besides, the company has also termed the research a very “ambitious task.” Twitter believes though that it has an expert team of professionals who have the ability to get the job done as soon as possible.