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Twitter prompt

Twitter is asking people to be nicer – and it works!

Almost one third of the users reply nicer or not at all, if they are asked to reconsider their aggressive Tweet, Twitter says.

As the company announced, they have been testing prompts last year encouraging people to pause and reconsider a potentially harmful or offensive reply — such as insults, strong language, or hateful remarks — before Tweeting it.

Once prompted, people had an opportunity to take a moment and make edits, delete, or send the reply as is.

Impressive reduction in aggressive Tweets

These tests ultimately resulted in people sending less potentially offensive replies across the service, and improved behavior on Twitter. The statistics showed that:

  • If prompted, 34% of people revised their initial reply or decided to not send their reply at all.
  • After being prompted once, people composed, on average, 11% fewer offensive replies in the future.
  • If prompted, people were less likely to receive offensive and harmful replies back.

In early tests, people were sometimes prompted unnecessarily because the algorithms powering the prompts struggled to capture the nuance in many conversations and often didn’t differentiate between potentially offensive language, sarcasm, and friendly banter. Throughout the experiment process though, Twitter analyzed results, collected feedback from the public, and worked to address errors, including detection inconsistencies.

How the system works

Since the early tests, the Twitter system now takes into consideration the following, when deciding if and when it should send a ‘savoir-faire’ prompt:

  • Consideration of the nature of the relationship between the author and replier, including how often they interact. For example, if two accounts follow and reply to each other often, there’s a higher likelihood that they have a better understanding of preferred tone of communication.
  • Adjustments to Twitter’s technology to better account for situations in which language may be reclaimed by underrepresented communities and used in non-harmful ways.
  • Improvement to the technology to more accurately detect strong language, including profanity.
  • Created an easier way for people to report to twitter if they found the prompt helpful or relevant.


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