Sometimes, people just need to be reminded they are still people before they try to start a war of words on social media.
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Wednesday 4:32 PM
A recently published Yale Law School study states that content moderation done prior to posting actually led more people to post less offensive tweets, which had the compounding effect of reducing the number of offensive replies in response.
The study showed that 6% of users prompted to revise their tweets that the system deemed offensive posted fewer offensive tweets than those who weren’t prompted. If there are 229 million daily active Twitter users — according to the company’s latest quarterly earnings report—And approximately 51% of those are tweeting in English, that could be over 7 million users who decided to post less negative content. And a fact that’s probably important to companies like Twitter that are obsessed with maintaining engagementthe total replies to the revised tweets did not decrease, and the discussion was less offensive overall.
Researchers go on to say that even after they were asked to moderate themselves, users were less likely to act negatively in the future. They cited 20% fewer users made five or more offensive tweets during the time of the experiment.
“This represents a broader and sustained change in user behavior, and implies that receiving prompts may help users be more cognizant of avoiding potentially offensive content as they post future Tweets,” the study’s authors wrote.
How are Twitter users revising their tweets?
In a blog post last week, Twitter data scientists Kathy Yang and Lauren Fratamico cited the Yale study and further said that for every 100 tweets the company asked users to reconsider, 69 were sent without revision, nine were canceled, and 22 were revised. Of those revisions, eight were considered less offensive than the original, while the rest were either similarly offensive or more offensive.
Revisions could be as simple as changing the word “shit” to a poop emoji or shortening “the fuck” to “tf.” Other revised tweets, a majority of those that were amended, removed profanity altogether. A bare few added an additional attack onto the existing tweet.