After expelling right-wing conspiratorialist Alex Jones from Twitter, the company CEO Jack Dorsey is contemplating making deeper changes to this social media platform which would help reduce the spreading of fake news, misinformation and hate speech.
Twitter was part of a group of other social media platforms that booted out Hone who founded the site called ‘Infowars’ and Jones used Twitter and other social media platforms to circulate false information. The move to boot out Jones had been resisted by Twitter despite public pressure for over two weeks.
“They seem to be reacting to the backlash they received when so many other companies in Silicon Valley ended up taking action,” said Keegan Hankes, research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “It’s illustrative of a broader trend of reactive enforcement” by the companies, he added.
In an interview to the Washington Post, Dorsey said that his company was mulling on a number of changes to the core characteristics of Twitter which would help to endorse alternative perspectives in its timeline. Falsehoods, conspiracy theories, and other misinformation could be tackled by the move but it could also address issues related to online “echo chambers” where users are primarily made to view those view points that they already agree with.
The CEO said the “most important thing that we can do” is to reevaluate the incentives used by currently by Twitter to device how people behave on the platform. “Because they do express a point of view of what we want people to do — and I don’t think they are correct anymore,” he said. his comments were later confirmed by Twitter.
Identification of automated accounts is also something that Twitter is working on, Dorsey said. such automated accounts are known as “bots” and are [primarily put to use for artificially increase the number of follower or for amplification of harassment or false accusations.
“We often turn to policy to fix a lot of these issues, but I think that is only treating surface-level symptoms that we are seeing,” he said.
The decision by Twitter not to ban Jones had earlier been supported by Dorsey. He had tweeted that Jones “hasn’t violated our rules” but if he does “we’ll enforce.”
“We’re going to hold Jones to the same standard we hold to every account, not taking one-off actions to make us feel good in the short term, and adding fuel to new conspiracy theories,” Dorsey tweeted on Aug. 7 following action being taken against Jones by other companies.
“The platforms cannot win because some constituency will be offended no matter what they do,” said Nathaniel Persily, a Stanford law professor.
Either Twitter does not have the capacity or is unwilling to enforce the written rules, Hankes said. the company has instead tried to stick on to the idea of an online free-speech utopia. But, he added, “the unchecked use of these platforms by bad actors does not make utopia.”
(Adapted from FirstPost.com)