Thinking of writing a nasty reply on Twitter? The company would like you to think twice before sending.
Twitter is rolling out prompts that urge its users to “pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply,” a feature it tested last year.
The prompt will ask users “Want to review this before Tweeting?” and give them an option to edit or delete their reply, or send as-is.
In the company’s early tests, they found that 34% of people prompted either revised or did not send their reply at all, and people wrote 11% fewer offensive replies after being prompted once.
Twitter acknowledged that they ran into some difficulties with the testing, with an inability to detect friendly interactions that included offensive language.
“People were sometimes prompted unnecessarily because the algorithms powering the prompts struggled to capture the nuance in many conversations and often didn't differentiate between potentially offensive language, sarcasm, and friendly banter,” the company said in a statement. "Throughout the experiment process, we analyzed results, collected feedback from the public, and worked to address our errors, including detection inconsistencies.”
The system will now consider the relationship between the author and replier, including how often they interact: “If two accounts follow and reply to each other often, there’s a higher likelihood that they have a better understanding of preferred tone of communication.”
Twitter also made “adjustments to our technology to better account for situations in which language may be reclaimed by underrepresented communities and used in non-harmful ways.”
This isn’t the only prompt that Twitter has rolled out recently — the company rolled out a cue last year to encourage people to read articles they want to Retweet or Quote Tweet to their followers before sharing.
Social media companies are testing out new features to help reduce negative emotions on their platforms, including anxiety, harassment or jealousy. Instagram, for instance, is testing a feature that would allow users to turn off like counts on their posts, or hiding like counts on the posts of others.
“Last year we started hiding like counts for a small group of people to see if it lessens some pressure when posting to Instagram,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote on Twitter in April. “Some found this helpful and some still wanted to see like counts, in particular to track what’s popular.”
“So we’re testing a new option that lets you decide the experience that’s best for you – whether that’s choosing not to see like counts on anyone else’s posts, turning them off for your own posts, or keeping the original experience,” he added. “We're testing this on Instagram to start and we're exploring a similar experience for Facebook too.”