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Twitter ‘read and review’ tool will cut abuse, but let you call your mate a ‘****’

Twitter is updating the way it handles potentially offensive tweets while rolling out new ‘read and review’ notifications for all users on iOS and Android.

The feature, which has been in testing for the last few months, encourages people to have another read of a tweet before they hit send, if the contents is liable to be reviewed for offensive or abusive material.

Twitter says the prompts saw 34% of people revise or cancel the sending of the reply, while resulting in 11% fewer offensive replies in futures. Those prompts also cut down on the offensive and harmful replies received by the user.

A smartphone on Twitter background, displaying Twitter reply prompt asking to review tweets with mean words

During and since the tests, Twitter has amended the system though with some caveats. For example, if you interact with another person regularly, it’ll be a bit more understanding of the language used.

In a blog post, the company said: “Consideration of the nature of the relationship between the author and replier, including how often they interact. For example, 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.”

So, that frees you up to call your friends the horrific names you would in person without receiving a prompt to reconsider your response. It also will have more tolerance of how language ‘reclaimed by underrepresented communities’ and is now used in ‘non-harmful ways’. Twitter will also ask users whether they ‘got this wrong’ when showing the prompt.

The company says it has “created an easier way for people to let us know if they found the prompt helpful or relevant.”

Analysis: Common sense move from Twitter

Over the weekend, I was suspended from Twitter for 12 hours for using a not very nice word, a number of times, to describe the behaviour of certain fans of a certain football club. The remarks weren’t aimed at anyone in particular, they weren’t used to insult another person, and were made in an exchange with a friend I’ve known for 25 years. I felt it was a little unjust – after all friends like to swear to each other – but I understood why. I used the word multiple times and it’s not suitable for public consumption. Under the new rules I probably wouldn’t have been exempt because I was using that word to describe those football fans rather than my friend. However, it’s good to know that you’re not going to suffer a ban for BS-ing with your friends moving forward.

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