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Micro-blogging site Twitter can Track and Detect Riots Faster than Police: Study

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London, June 27, 2017: With people increasingly taking to the social media, especially Twitter, to report or update events, observations and occurrences, new research says the micro-blogging site can track and detect major disruptive events faster than the police.

The study showed that computer systems using a series of machine-learning algorithms could automatically scan through tweets and detect serious incidents, such as breaking into a shop or setting cars alight, before they were reported to the police.

The computer system could also discern information about where the riots were rumoured to take place and where groups of youths were gathering.

On average the computer systems could pick up on the disruptive events several minutes before officials could. In some cases even over an hour ahead of the security personnel, the researchers said in the paper published in the journal ACM Transactions on Internet Technology.

“We will never replace traditional policing resource on the ground but we have demonstrated that this research could augment existing intelligence gathering and draw on new technologies to support more established policing methods,” said Pete Burnap from Cardiff University.

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Estimates put social media membership at approximately 2.5 billion non-unique users, and the data produced by these users have been used to predict elections, movie revenues and even the epicentre of earthquakes.

The study could enable police officers to better manage and prepare for both large and small scale disruptive events, the researchers added.

“We have previously used machine-learning and natural language processing on Twitter data to better understand online deviance, such as the spread of antagonistic narratives and cyber hate,” Burnap said.

For the study, the team analysed 1.6 million tweets related to the 2011 riots in England, which began as an isolated incident in Tottenham on August 6 but quickly spread across London and to other cities in England.

The researchers used a series of machine-learning algorithms to analyse each of the tweets from the dataset, taking into account a number of key features such as the time they were posted, the location where they were posted and the content of the tweet itself. (IANS)

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Twitter Finally Rolls out ‘Hide Replies’ Feature Globally: Report

It will soon launch a new "hide replies endpoint" so developers can build additional conversation management tools

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The Twitter logo appears on a phone post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.. VOA

Twitter has finally rolled out its “Hide Replies” feature globally which lets users hide replies they think are irrelevant, off-topic, or annoying and are changing the course of the discussion on the platform.

The option to hide replies which may be offensive, hateful or racist in nature has rolled out globally on iOS, Android, Twitter Lite and twitter.com, the micro-blogging platform said in a statement late Thursday.

Currently, people who reply to your tweet can shift the topic or tone of a discussion and derail what you and your audience wants to talk about.

“To give you more control over the conversations you start, we tested the option for you to hide replies to your Tweets. We learned that the feature is a useful new way to manage your conversations. Today, we’re making this available to everyone globally,” said Twitter.

Here’s how it works.

Anyone can choose to hide replies to their Tweets. Everyone can see and engage with hidden replies by tapping the grey icon that will appear on the Tweets.

This way, users will have more control over the conversations they start but people can still see the entire conversation.

The option is a new way to shut out noise as 85 per cent of the people who hide replies are not using block or mute.

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Twitter is a social media app that encourages short tweets and brief conversations. Pixabay

It is not the equivalent of a delete button, but hides replies behind an icon.

If your followers still want to see the hidden replies, they can press the icon and view those.

A Twitter user can also hide replies that attempt to correct misinformation or offer a fact check.

The feature was first tested in Canada in July, then in the US and Japan this September.

In Canada, 27 per cent of people who had their Tweets hidden said they would reconsider how they interact with others in the future. Also, they thought it was a helpful way to manage what they saw, similar to muted keywords.

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“Some people mentioned that they didn’t want to hide replies due to fear of retaliation as the icon remains visible. We’ll continue to get feedback on this,” said Twitter.

The company said it is also working on new controls and more clarity around the rules of conversation spaces.

It will soon launch a new “hide replies endpoint” so developers can build additional conversation management tools. (IANS)