Social media has turned to the a place full of bots and trolls. In case of Twitter, they are eating it inside out.
Twitter admits that its platform has become a toxic place. In an attempt to further combat abuse and malicious automated accounts, and also to address the complaints of Twitter having allowed harassment and manipulation to run free, the company is requiring more authentication for new users who want to sign up.
For there first time, users signing up to Twitter are required to fill their email address or phone number for confirmation.
Adding a way to check whether a user is a real person, was described by Twitter as being among measures to fight abuse, trolls, and hateful content.
"This is an important change to defend against people who try to take advantage of our openness," said Twitter executives Del Harvey and Yoel Roth in a blog post.
Since the revelation of 50,000 Russian-linked accounts affecting the 2016 U.S. presidential election with propaganda, Twitter has released a number of updates to decrease suspicious activities on its platform.
“These issues are felt around the world, from elections to emergency events and high-profile public conversations,” Twitter said in a blog post. “As we have stated in recent announcements, the public health of the conversation on Twitter is a critical metric by which we will measure our success in these areas.”
And to prevent malicious activities from coming to the surface, the company has also developed machine learning algorithms which work proactively to find problematic accounts. The approach looks for behavioral patterns of users in addition to the content of the tweets, allowing Twitter to find and mute trolls.
Once suspicious accounts are found, Twitter reduces their visibility. And as a step up, Twitter is also showing a warning sign on these accounts, and new users won't be able to follow them.
Back in May, its system found more than 9.9 million potentially spam or automated accounts a week. This was an increase from 3.2 million a week since September 2017.
Using all attempts, Twitter can at least have a sigh of relief since the average number of spam reports a day has dropped from 25,000 in March to about 17,000 in May.
Twitter also said that it's auditing every account created to ensure that they all pass security check to prevent automated signups. This change has stopped more than 50,000 spam accounts from signing up, each day, Twitter said.
The changes reflect founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s effort in cleaning up Twitter a priority.
Critics said that Twitter prioritizes user and revenue growth over efforts to fight spam and manipulation. These changes show how Twitter is not anymore what people say, or at least not anymore that much.