Twitter is updating its “be nice, think twice” system that prompts users to reconsider when they’re about to tweet a “potentially harmful or offensive” reply. The upgraded feature is now better at spotting “strong language,” claims Twitter; is more aware of vocabulary that has been “reclaimed by underrepresented communities” and is used in non-harmful ways; and also now takes into account your relationship with the person you’re messaging.
In other words, if you’re tweeting at a mutual who you interact with regularly, Twitter will assume “there’s a higher likelihood [you] have a better understanding of preferred tone of communication” and not show you a prompt. So, you can call your friend a **** or a ****-**** or even a ****-******* son of a ****-less ***** and Twitter won’t care. That’s freedom, folks.
Twitter first started testing this system in May 2020, paused it a little later, then brought it back to life in February this year. It’s one of a number of prompts the company has been testing to try and shape user behavior, including its “read before you retweet” message.
A sample prompt shown to a user before sending an offensive reply.
Improvements to the offensive-tweets prompt will roll out to English users of the Twitter iOS app today and to Android users “in the next few days.” The company says it’s already making a difference to how people interact on the platform, though.
Twitter claims internal tests show 34 percent of people who were served such a prompt “revised their initial reply or decided to not send their reply at all.” After receiving such a prompt once, people composed, on average, 11 percent “fewer offensive replies.” And people who were prompted about a reply (and therefore may have toned down their language) were themselves “less likely to receive offensive and harmful replies back.”