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Twitter Partners With Academics To Improve Healthy Conversations

Twitter has partnered with two academic research groups to find out and improve healthy conversations on its platform.

Twitter Photo Wired

While some think it’s just part of the company’s search for social relevance, especially after losing about 1 million users, the company posted $100 million in profit during last week’s earnings. However, none of these numbers can change the fact that Twitter needs to make an adjustment on how the social network is being used.

Twitter, in March, called for researchers to bring forth proposals showing how the issue of analytics can be approached around the manner of conversations on the platform. Submitted proposals were reviewed thoroughly as Twitter revealed that the review team included representatives from various departments in the company, including Engineering, Product, Machine Learning, Data Science, Trust and Safety, Legal and Research Unit.

While the review process has ended, Twitter employed two research teams to include:

A team led by scholars from Leiden University to research on how echo chambers form and their effect, as well as the difference between incivility and intolerance within Twitter conversations. While the first set of metrics this team would focus on will look at the extent to which people acknowledge and engage with diverse viewpoints on Twitter, the second will look at the difference between incivility and intolerance.

Leading the second research team are scholars from The University of Oxford in collaboration with Marc Heerdink at the University of Amsterdam. This team is to follow up on Hewstone’s findings that, when conversations contain more positive sentiments, cooperative emotions, and more complex thinking and reasoning from multiple perspectives, prejudice will go down and the quality of the relationships will go up.

This is a welcome development from Twitter, and we hope to see it to the end.

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