December 2, 2020

Daily Pop

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Twitter to Add Context to Trending Topics

To specifically clean up a feature that has often been used to amplify disinformation and hatred, Twitter made an effort towards it and said that it would add more context to topics that trend on its services.

Mr Rivitz, a creator of Sleeping Giants, which is an organization that pushes the social media companies as well as the advertisers to cut off the financial ties with far-right groups, said that as a barometer for what’s going on, it was so easily gamed.

During the run-up to the election, it was arguing that trends could serve as a disinformation; at the same time, Sleeping Giants called Twitter to disable the trends.

Mr Rivitz also said that there’s a well-known playbook among disinformation peddlers on Twitter on how to game the algorithm.

As you may know, Twitter totally depends on certain algorithms to detect tweets that are totally abusive or spam and keep the tweets from appearing in trends. You have also come to know about a recent news regarding Twitter about blocking 150,000 accounts that were known for spreading certain conspiracy theories from appearing in trends.

This whole change come as other social media companies, including Twitter, struggle to respond to disinformation surrounding the U.S. presidential election.

But then it stops as some of the Twitter employees along with the external activists have proposed to finally eradicate the trending topics together.

Russian trolls fueled an American-made conspiracy theory in February that the former members of Hillary Clinton’s staff were providing the Iowa caucuses, and further helped to push the baseless theory to the top of Twitter’s trending list.

Through the election, observers have agreed and recently started a campaign using the #UntrendOctober hashtag, which asks Twitter to turn off its trending service.

A product trust partner Liz Lee and Frank Oppong, a Twitter product manager, in a company blog post announcing the change stated – “We need to make trends better and we will.”

And now the trending topics will include the explanatory tweets followed by descriptions that will show why an item is trending as told by Twitter.

The vice president of analysis at Alethea Group, Cindy Otis said that there were so many of disinformation narratives that were seen on Twitter, which are spread by people who don’t necessarily agree with it; they were simply talking about it because it was trending and therefore, they amplify it.

On Tuesday, Twitter also said that it will be offering more immediate insight.