Twitter figures that if we are informed that someone also likes dogs or soccer, maybe we will tone down our death threats and online harassment.
We will acknowledge that Twitter has generally been far better than Facebook in making earnest attempts to make its platform less toxic. They have given Trump consequences for posts intended to undermine democracy and see as many Americans killed as possible, and have made efforts to combat harassment and abuse on the site. Yet the tenor on Twitters is still often terrible, and so Mashable reports on the latest strategy, which is to test “humanization prompts” that show you common interests you have with someone before you tweet something horrible at them.
Really excited to finally learn both me and the person wishing me a violent death because I said accessibility considerations for Dark Souls both like "video games" https://t.co/bpxV3dqbXT— Rami Ismail (رامي) (@tha_rami) December 18, 2020
“Humanization prompts” sounds like something Jack Dorsey would come up with doing Vipassana meditation during a Soylent fast while performing a Goop-recommended beard care routine. The idea may have merit, but the term itself is the language of someone who just snorted a huge rail of vested Twitter stock shares, and so we will pepper this post with mocking tweets.
I feel like Twitter’s “humanization prompts” have missed the mark. pic.twitter.com/WJD5aNRNIP— Total War: Santa Clausewitz (@untimelygamer) December 18, 2020
"In the heat of the moment, people can forget there's another human behind a Twitter account,” Twitter’s senior product manager for conversations (yes that is a real job title) Christine Su told Mashable. “By showing what we have in common, we hope to remind people of what connects us as a starting point."
Alternative suggestion for Twitter: Ban the Nazis https://t.co/AotN8DAITJ— RWTema (@RWTema) December 18, 2020
You are unlikely to receive any humanization prompts soon, because this is a small test among only 10% English-language mobile app users on Android. The interests shown will be pulled from the Topics you follow, like in the product sample screenshot that says “You and Maria both follow the Topics Soccer, Dogs, and Rap.” But… do people even fill out the Topics section on their Twitter account? I feel like only a small subset of users do.
it's just kind of incredible to call this a humanization prompt when there is nothing human about the topics system. https://t.co/meNpWIl3HJ— Vivienne (@VixInteractive) December 18, 2020
And a so-called humanization prompt would not work when the accounts doing the harassing are bots. The concept of humanization prompts may sound great to the TEDx Talk crowd. But for regular online trolls, maybe just a simpler “Three rape threats and you’re out” rule might work a little more effectively.
Related: Twitter Acquires Group Video-Chat App Squad, Will Shut It Down This Weekend [SFist]
Image: via Twitter