Twitter has definitely come under a lot of fire in recent years for issues ranging from not doing enough to stop harassment on its platform to allowing foreign actors to sow political discord. In the past, the company has tweaked its tools, giving individuals more options when it comes to controlling what they're exposed to online, as well as updated its guidelines a handful of times. But today, Twitter announced it's trying out another route -- asking people outside of the company to propose ways that it can promote healthy, open and civil conversations online.
While working to fix it, we've been accused of apathy, censorship, political bias, and optimizing for our business and share price instead of the concerns of society. This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be.
— jack (@jack) March 1, 2018
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted today that the company isn't proud of how some have taken advantage of its service, specifically calling out troll armies, misinformation campaigns and bots. And he added that Twitter has been accused of apathy, censorship and political bias as it has attempted to fix its problems. "This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be," he said. He adds that the company doesn't yet know the best way to measure conversational health on its platform and so it's asking outside experts to chime in. "Twitter's health will be built and measured by how we help encourage more healthy debate, conversations and critical thinking; conversely, abuse, spam and manipulation will detract from it," the company said today. "We are looking to partner with outside experts to help us identify how we measure the health of Twitter, keep us accountable to share our progress with the world and establish a way forward for the long-term."
What we know is we must commit to a rigorous and independently vetted set of metrics to measure the health of public conversation on Twitter. And we must commit to sharing our results publicly to benefit all who serve the public conversation.
— jack (@jack) March 1, 2018
Those who want to propose ways to do this can submit their ideas through this form starting today. The form asks you to describe your proposed health metrics, how you'll measure, evaluate and report them and how long you'll need to develop your methods. It also asks for what sorts of resources you might need and requests you provide any peer-reviewed articles you've published that are relevant to your proposal. Those who are chosen to collaborate with Twitter will get funding to do so and are expected to produce open-access, peer-reviewed research articles about their work. Those interested must submit their proposals by April 13th and Twitter will ask those it wants to hear more from to share further details throughout May and June. Final selections will be announced in July.