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Twitter want to stop blowing bubbles

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

Twitter experiments to stop “hyper polarization”. Persons who read and share an article on Twitter will also see content with varied points of views in their feed. It can stop them from getting drawn into rabbit holes of strong and hateful opinions.

Jack Dorsey, CEO for Twitter, shares how to contribute to a better public conversation in an interview with The Daily.

We at Fika is exploring the role of social media bridging or widening divides between people. This interview gives a little hope. Jack Dorsey to The Daily: “One experiment that we are running is that for any particular article that is shared you might see one point of view in this direction, another point of view that is slightly different and another point of view that is completely different. Just to break through some of the bubbles that we tend to naturally build.

Jack Dorsey hopes that changing algorithms might make you want to dig deeper into subjects, read varied articles and see other videos to form your own opinion. He says Twitter is working with several experiments to stop the platforms polarizing effects.

Savvy social media users reach millions with unedited, uncensored and false messages. Emotional and controversial messages are more liked, disliked and shared. This logic has led to spread of abuse, hate and harassment, racism, fake news, hyper polarization etcetera.

There is a growing pressure on social media companies to change its algorithms and incentives to make conversations reasonable again.

It seems like Twitter is trying. And it’s important. With 330 million users, it is one of the smaller social media platforms, but has strong impact in politics and news.

In May Twitter started to label false corona information. Earlier it started to label synthetic or manipulated messages. Recently Twitter said it had restricted Trump's campaign from tweeting after its account shared a video containing false claims about the coronavirus.

But the Twitter CEO also think that interfering with the content, like labeling it, can offend its users. They might feel that Twitter has a bias against them and that their freedom to take part in public conversation is limited.

“We must build a system that is fair. More transparent. Clear about our policies”, says Jack Dorsey.

Hopefully more social media companies will come to these insights. If they have to open their black boxes, transparency will force them to update today’s algorithms and incentives. If they do, they will help save democracy. If they don't, they might destroy it. mats.paulsen@fikaproject.org

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