Twitter's newest move aims to discourage rude tweets

Twitter Logo Coffee Keyboard
Twitter Logo Coffee Keyboard (Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Twitter will now ask all users to reconsider if they intend to tweet an aggressive comment at another user.
  • It had tested this in a limited fashion last year.
  • The company says 34% of users had adjusted their tweets after being prompted once, and 11% went on to send fewer aggressive tweets going forward.

Twitter today announced an evolution of its drive to encourage more thoughtful and considerate tweeting. As we noted last year, it asked users to take a moment before responding to articles, nudging them to read beyond the headline and wagging a finger when they tried to be rude to others. The former rolled out broadly to all last year. Now, the company is expanding the latter test to all users.

Twitter's Sunita Saligram, global head of site policy for trust and safety, explained at the time:

We're trying to encourage people to rethink their behavior and rethink their language before posting because they often are in the heat of the moment and they might say something they regret.

Twitter Reply Prompt

Source: Twitter (Image credit: Source: Twitter)

From today on, users will see a prompt if they attempt to respond aggressively to a user, or send an aggressive tweet targeting another person. The company noted that it had been successful in deterring 34% of people from tweeting after being prompted to reconsider. People who were prompted were also less aggressive in the future.

The company used its prompts as a blunt instrument, but it'll be a bit more selective in applying them as it rolls out widely For instance, if you and your friend follow each other and regularly engage in raucous banter, the algorithm would note that. If you're rage tweeting a random on the other hand, Twitter would be more likely to step in and ask you to think again.

Twitter had picked up a reputation as a vicious platform, so the company started rolling out tools that rewarded thoughtfulness and allowed users to set boundaries. It's an approach that some, like Instagram, are also trying. An update in the future is the only thing that could tell us whether this is the right move or not.

Michael Allison