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Twitter is demoting certain accounts so terrible people have less presence on the site

This could get tricky quickly.

twitter update for news follower count demote
Image: Unsplash

Gizmodo believes Twitter is using a new ranking behavior to bury several prominent far-right accounts from the service’s search results. In some instances, these accounts no longer appear in the social platform’s drop-down results, or when searching either for their display names or @ handles. The move follows Twitter’s decision announced in May to demote the reach of “troll-like behavior.”

On Saturday, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent out a tweet asking users what type of content should be banned or at least curtailed from the service. He noted,

Fundamentally, we need to focus more on the conversational dynamics within Twitter. We haven’t paid enough consistent attention here. Better organization, more context, helping to identify credibility, ease of use. Challenging work and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

As Gizmodo found, many of the responses revolved around removing bad-faith actors, dangerous conspiracists, and white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Still, “it’s unclear if this tweak to the platform is in response to that feedback, given that enabling such groups has been a consistent criticism of Twitter for several years.”

To date, Gizmodo calls Twitter’s enforcement “inconsistent” since “some of the most inflammatory accounts remain discoverable in dropdown searches.”

It continues, “The primary factor distinguishing the accounts searched for by Gizmodo staff, however, is a history of bad-faith engagement that contributes to open hostilities on the platform.”

I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, characters who claim to be neo-Nazis have no place on Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere else on the internet, and to demote makes sense. However, it seems Twitter is only going after characters it believes are rightwing, even though there are also bad actors on the left side of the spectrum. By doing so, Twitter risks being accused of bias, even though in some instances, their decision to demote some users is justified.

What do you think? Leave your comments below.

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Bryan considers himself a well-rounded techie, having written articles for MakeUseOf, KnowTechie, AppAdvice, iDownload Blog. When he's not writing, he's being a single dad and rooting for his alma mater, Penn State, or cheering on the Patriots.

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