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US Drops Effort to Force Twitter to Reveal Anti-Trump Account

It was also not immediately known whether the government had closed an investigation it said it was conducting into the Twitter account.

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Source : Pixabay

April 11, 2017: The U.S. government on Friday dropped its effort to force Twitter to identify users behind an account critical of President Donald Trump, the social media company said.

In response, Twitter said it was dropping a federal lawsuit against the U.S. government that challenged the request to unmask the users.

Twitter had sued just a day earlier, claiming the government overstepped its authority in issuing a summons to reveal the account owners.

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The lawsuit said that the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection had sought the identity of the users of Twitter handle @ALT-USCIS.

‘Alternative’ handles

The account describes itself as “immigration resistance.” Its creators told media outlets the account is run by current and former employees of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which is overseen by the Department of Homeland Security.

It is one of several “alternative” handles purportedly created by current federal employees unhappy with the Trump administration.

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It was not immediately clear why the government withdrew its effort to identify the Twitter users. It was also not immediately known whether the government had closed an investigation it said it was conducting into the Twitter account.

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The American Civil Liberties Union praised the government’s decision to withdraw its request, saying in a tweet, “Big victory for free speech and the right to dissent.”  VOA

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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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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)