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Twitter explains the legal compulsions behind blocking some tweets and accounts

Twitter is also working on improving their use of in-app notifications to alert affected users.

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Twitter is a social micro-blogging site. Wikimedia Commons
Twitter is a social micro-blogging site. Wikimedia Commons
  • Twitter has updated its transparency tool
  • This tool is to clarify why content was being withheld
  • Twitter is also working on improving their use of in-app notifications

San Francisco, December 22, 2017: To help the public better understand the scope and scale of government censorship from around the world, Twitter has updated its transparency tool to tell its users the legal compulsions behind blocking of some tweets and accounts on its platform.

“We are updating our in-product messaging when we withhold content to clarify why content was withheld and where,” Jeremy Kessel, Global Legal Policy Director at Twitter wrote in a blog post.

So when a tweet is withheld, users would now know if Twitter was compelled to withhold the original tweet in response to a valid legal demand, such as a court order.

They would also know if Twitter withheld the content to comply with local law(s).

Similar notification will be available for withheld accounts as well.

To shine light on government requests, Twitter launched its “Transparency Report” back in 2012 and later that year, it announced the “Country Withheld Content” (CWC) tool, which the microblogging site uses to transparently handle global legal requests to remove content from Twitter.

“The primary goal of CWC is to avoid silent removals and maximise transparency of the content that we are compelled to remove to comply with local laws, court orders, and other legal demands,” Kessel said.

Twitter achieves this transparency through a combination of efforts. This includes providing direct notice of removal requests to affected users (when not otherwise prohibited), the use of visual indicators within the service, and by publishing the underlying legal demands on Lumen, which serves as a public repository for content removal requests.

One example of CWC is Nazi symbols in Germany, where they are prohibited, Techcrunch reported on Thursday.

Twitter said the latest update is part of its larger efforts to increase transparency across the platform, particularly around decisions that impact its users.

“We are also working on improving our use of in-app notifications to alert affected users when we have received legal requests about their account,” Kessel said.

“Our goal is to help you better understand why you may not be able to view certain types of content as you interact with our service,” he added. (IANS)

Next Story

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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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)