Twitter has provided an update on its efforts to manage its workforce, and workload, amid the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.
As Twitter looks to shift its workforce out of its offices around the world, that’s also lead to changes in how it operates, which is particularly relevant in the case of content moderation. With much of Twitter’s moderation being conducted in large offices, flipping that into a remote team is complex.
In order to cater to this, Twitter says that it will increase its reliance on automation tools to detect and remove violating content.
As per Twitter:
“[We will increase] our use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content. We want to be clear: while we work to ensure our systems are consistent, they can sometimes lack the context that our teams bring, and this may result in us making mistakes. As a result, we will not permanently suspend any accounts based solely on our automated enforcement systems. Instead, we will continue to look for opportunities to build in human review checks where they will be most impactful.”
In other words, more content is going to get flagged on Twitter, because it’s boosting its reliance on automated detection, but not all of it will actually break the rules. That could lead to some angst around Twitter’s decisions in this respect, but with the shift the company is undertaking, users will have to employ a level of patience and understanding – as with most aspects of day to day life at present.
In addition to this, Twitter says that it’s also working to build frameworks to support its ongoing operations within this changed environment, executing daily quality assurance checks on its content enforcement processes to ensure that it’s responding as best it can to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, and instituting a global “content severity triage system” in order to prioritize the potential rule violations which “present the biggest risk of harm and reducing the burden on people to report them”.
As with many organizations, Twitter is being tasked with implementing significant changes in order to cater to these new conditions – and as with everyone, the difficult part is that we don’t know how long this will need to be the case. Twitter’s working to ensure that it’s able to maintain all of its regular services, now and into the future, but that will take some time and effort, and there may be some issues along the way.
If you’re seeing someone’s tweets get reported, or indeed if your own tweets are flagged and you’re not sure why, it’s worth keeping this in mind, and noting that Twitter’s system could have some flaws as it works to catch up.