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How your tweets can reveal political polarisation?

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By Newsgram Staff Writer

Researchers at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid in Spain have developed a model to detect the extent to which a conversation on Twitter – and thus the actual offline argument and political climate—is polarised.

The model revealed that a group is “perfectly polarised” on a given topic when it has been divided into two groups of the same size holding opposite opinions. A politically polarised society implies several risks, such as the appearance of radicalism or civil wars.

“We were interested to find out how can political polarisation be detected and, therefore, be fixed,” said Rosa Maria Benito, a professor at Universidad Politecnica de Madrid.

Case Study of Hugo Chavez

The researchers took the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in 2013 as the case study. Analysing 16 million tweets from more than three million users following Chavez’s death in Venezuela, Spanish researchers quantified the extent of polarization in Caracas. Benito and her colleagues downloaded over 16,383,490 messages written by 3,173,090 Twitter users from one month before and one month after Chavez’s death on March 5, 2013 – a total of 56 days.

They used these messages to create retweet networks, in which retweets could be considered a proxy for influence and adoption of ideas, and at last applied their model and polarisation index to the networks. Compilation of this data gave them a day-by-day breakdown of the extent of political polarisation in Venezuela over the course of 56 days.

It was surprising for the researchers to find that during the most critical days of the conversation – between Chavez’s death and state funeral- polarisation dropped to its lowest levels as foreign users had joined the conversation. This was the reason behind the disappearance of  polarised structure of the network. Benito and her colleagues then plotted the geo-located tweets on a map of Caracas, the Venezuelan capital, and compared the polarity expressed – opposition— with the voting records and political affiliations of each municipality, finding a strong correlation between the two.

 

 

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Micro-blogging Site Twitter to Bring ‘Hide Replies’ Feature in June

“We are updating our rules in the next few weeks so they’re shorter, simpler and easier to understand,” they added

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TWitter
The logo for Twitter is displayed above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. vOA

As part of the efforts to make its platform appear less toxic, Twitter is planning to give people an option to hide replies to their tweets, thereby giving users more control over the nature of conversation they would like to have on the platform.

“Starting in June, we’ll be experimenting with ways to give people more control over their conversations by giving them an option to hide replies to their Tweets,” Donald Hicks, Vice President, Twitter Service and David Gasca, Twitter’s Senior Director, Product Management, Health, wrote in a blog post on Tuesday.

While the feature has the potential to make trolls invisible, it could make it difficult for users to correct wrong statements made by others.

Other social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram already give users much more power in terms of dealing with the comments to their posts, including the option to delete them.

Twitter last year said that making the platform free of abuse, spam and other things that distract from the public conversation is its top priority.

The microblogging site on Tuesday said it had got a lot faster and better at curbing abusive behaviour and hateful content.

Twitter, India, Smartphone
Twitter on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“This time last year, 0 per cent of potentially abusive content was flagged to our teams for review proactively. Today, by using technology, 38 per cent of abusive content that’s enforced is surfaced proactively for human review instead of relying on reports from people using Twitter,” Hicks and Gasca wrote.

“The same technology we use to track spam, platform manipulation and other rule violations is helping us flag abusive Tweets to our team for review,” they said.

Twitter said 100,000 accounts were suspended for creating new accounts after a suspension during January-March 2019 — a 45 per cent increase from the same time last year.

Also Read- Mozilla Questions Apple’s Privacy Practice

With a focus on reviewing this type of content, Twitter said it had expanded its teams in key areas and geographies.

“We’ll make it easier for people who use Twitter to share specifics when reporting so we can take action faster, especially when it comes to protecting people’s physical safety,” Hicks and Gasca wrote.

“We are updating our rules in the next few weeks so they’re shorter, simpler and easier to understand,” they added. (IANS)