All posts in “trump”

Twitter details how it reviews and enforces rules around hate speech, violence and harassment


Twitter has been under fire lately (slash always) for its methods to deal with harassment and abuse on its platform. In an effort to provide some insight into its thinking, Twitter has added some new articles to its help center that detail how the company reviews and enforces rules, as well as the factors it considers in its decision-making process.

In a subtopic on “legitimate public interest,” for example, Twitter says it wants to ensure people can see all sides of an issue. With that in mind, “there may be the rare occasion when we allow controversial content or behavior which may otherwise violate our Rules to remain on our service because we believe there is a legitimate public interest in its availability.”

In determining if a piece of content could be of legitimate interest to the public, Twitter says it looks at the source of the content, its potential impact on the public and the availability of counterpoints.

“If the Tweet does have the potential to impact the lives of large numbers of people, the running of a country (emphasis TC’s), and/or it speaks to an important societal issue then we may allow the the content to remain on the service,” Twitter explains.

Twitter does not explicitly mention President Donald Trump, but my bet is that this is how Trump is able to do essentially whatever he wants to do on Twitter. The help article goes on to describe that the content of some people, groups and organizations “may be considered a topic of legitimate public interest by virtue of their being in the public consciousness.”

The explanation on what counts as legitimate public interest lives inside Twitter’s new help section article, “Our approach to policy development and enforcement philosophy.” In that article, Twitter lays out its policy development process, enforcement philosophy and its range of enforcement options.

When determining whether to take action, for example, Twitter says context matters and that it looks at factors like if the behavior is directed at a person, group or protected category of people, whether the content is a topic of “legitimate public interest” and if the person has a history of violating Twitter’s policies.

Twitter says it starts by assuming that people don’t intend to violate its rules, noting that “Unless a violation is so egregious that we must immediately suspend an account, we first try to educate people about our Rules and give them a chance to correct their behavior.”

Twitter defines these “egregious” violations as posting violent threats, consensual intimate media and content that sexually exploits children. Those egregious behaviors result in immediate, permanent account suspension.

There are a range of actions Twitter can take once it has determined a piece of content is in violation of its rules. It can limit tweet visibility, require someone to delete the tweet before they can tweet again and hide a tweet until the violator officially deletes it.

At the DM level, Twitter can require the violator to delete the message or block the violator on behalf of the reporter. At the account level, Twitter can put an account in read-only mode, which limits the person’s ability to tweet, retweet or like content “until calmer heads prevail.”

All of the above and more is now featured in Twitter’s help center. The information itself is not new, but it does provide more detail than Twitter has in the past. This information comes after Twitter posted a new version of its rules earlier this month that featured updated sections pertaining to abuse, spam, violence, self-harm and other topics.

Hilariously weird game about a trash hole is basically just Twitter

Let’s all just come out and admit it: We’re garbage people.

Not in the evil sense, of course. But those of us who take part in the virtual, vacuous hole known as the internet can all agree we’re part of the garbage dump. 

It’s hard to not become garbage, in some capacity, when you contribute to this all-consuming vortex of content, opinions, pointless arguments, anger, etc.

That’s basically the concept behind Donut County, a hilarious upcoming physics puzzle game by Ben Esposito that delights in the eccentric. Deceptively simple, Donut County is all about the pleasures of destruction — while simultaneously tackling serious subjects like online divisiveness and gentrification.

Playing as a garbage-loving raccoon named BK, you live in a city heavily inspired by Los Angeles. BK finds himself working as an intern at a startup that’s made a piece of technology that sucks people’s trash down an indestructible hole.

But both BK and this new technology are causing rapid changes in the neighborhood. As a raccoon, “BK doesn’t see anything as important. He sees it all as garbage. The whole world is his garbage,” Esposito said in an interview recently. 

He won’t stop until he’s swallowed the whole town. Whether it’s old ladies, snakes, pots, fences, scooters… everything goes down the hole and gets trapped in BK’s underground stock pile of garbage of spoils called the “trashipedia.”

[embedded content]

“So you’re being an asshole, but it’s fun!” said Esposito. “And every other character in town knows you’re an asshole, and is trying to convince you after every level that what you’re doing is wrong.”

But a raccoon is gonna raccoon, right?

Like the internet, Donut County is all about clashes of perspectives. 

Like the internet, Donut County is all about clashes of perspectives. Because, “when you’re on the internet, you’re forced to deal with a lot of people whose point of view you can’t possibly justify,” even when, “one person is usually very clearly in the wrong.” 

Similarly, you can’t possibly justify your own actions as BK. But the townspeople need to try to “help him unlearn his garbage perspective” anyway. After every level and puzzle, you’re forced to reckon with the consequences of your actions as the people in your underground bunker try to get you to see reason.

And, man, if that isn’t Twitter in 2017 in a nutshell, I don’t know what is.

A connoisseur of internet oddities, Esposito’s first forays into creative writing began online through the wonderful world of weird Twitter. Donut County is an extension of the poetic, absurdist humor he mastered there, where entire worlds of meaning are created through strange setups. And, of course, 140 characters or less.

“[Weird Twitter] can blow your mind because it creates an entire story with a single sentence. And you have to consider the very specific perspective and situation it’s creating, while only seeing a tiny bit of it.”

Donut County does exactly that. It takes large subjects — from our lives online to real world gentrification — and distills it all through the point of view of an asshole raccoon.

The internet in a nutshell

The internet in a nutshell

Image: ben esposito, anapurna interactive

Ultimately, while Esposito often describes Donut County as “the game where you play as the hole in the ground,” it’s not really about that. “It’s about the stuff that gets sucked into the hole. It’s about this place, and the people forced to live together and deal with each other.”

Funnily enough, despite being a bizarre tale about a raccoon and a hole, Donut County is more relevant today than ever before. Because nowadays, we’re seeing how online worlds and perspectives lead to actual political upheaval.

And, as Esposito demonstrates through Donut County, “It takes an entire community of people, and all their time and effort to convince this one guy that he was being an asshole.”

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Twitter says it has ‘implemented safeguards’ to prevent Trump account deactivation


President Trump’s Twitter account was deactivated on Thursday for 11 minutes at the hands of a rogue employee on their last day at the company. While many cheered the attempt at halting the controversial tweets, others expressed concern at the lack of control Twitter had over its own service.

In a tweet on Friday, Twitter said it has “implemented safeguards to prevent this from happening again.”

The New York Times reported that this person wasn’t a full-time employee, but a contractor, which caused many people to wonder how one part-time worker could wield so much power over the account of one of the world’s leaders.

We reached out to Twitter and a spokesperson said, “we won’t have any further comment on this issue.”

While they need to give workers the flexibility to suspend the accounts of bots, shouldn’t at least a second person be required to sign off on the deactivation of a public figure?

Twitter has faced a lot of criticism in attempting to police its service. The platform is rife with bullying and verbal abuse and the social media company has had a difficult time walking the fine line between what it labels as “free speech” and making its business an inviting experience for everyone.

Trump’s Twitter account has been under scrutiny, not only because he’s the U.S. president, but because he uses it frequently. He’s tweeted more than 36,000 times.

Some have wondered whether his threatening tweets to North Korea were at odds with Twitter’s terms and conditions.

Featured Image: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Trump’s Twitter account temporarily deactivated due to employee error


President Trump’s infamous Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump went briefly offline on Thursday, setting forth a wave of confusion and emotions.

Some wondered if Trump had been suspended for violating Twitter’s terms of service, which many people have been calling for.

But then he was back! The outage lasted just minutes.

Here’s what Twitter said about the incident:

Trump’s Twitter account has been under scrutiny, not only because he’s the U.S. President, but because he uses it a lot. He’s tweeted over 36,000 times and it’s often stirred up controversy.

Some have questioned whether his threatening tweets to North Korea were at odds with Twitter’s terms and conditions.

Facebook just acquired tbh and its 5 million teen users

Facebook just scored a huge win its quest to win over teens.

The company has acquired tbh, the anonymous app that’s been going viral with teens. The app, which is targeted toward middle school and high school students, is a network that allows users to swap compliments by participating in anonymous “quizzes.”

It’s proved to be a winning formula for tbh, which has been in the App Store’s top ten for weeks, including two straight weeks as the number one app, according to data from Sensor Tower.

Facebook confirmed the acquisition saying, “tbh and Facebook share a common goal – of building community and enabling people to share in ways that bring us closer together.”

The app, launched in September, racked up more than 2 million downloads in its first month in the App Store, according to data from App Annie. Since then, the app has reached 5 million users who have collectively exchanged more than a billion messages, according to tbh.

The app is centered around emoji-filled anonymous quizzes that ask users to pick which friend has “the best smile” or is the “world’s best party planner.” It keeps identities a secret but users can see the gender and grade level of the person who “chooses” them.

Image: tbh

Image: tbh

It sounds like Facebook plans to keep the app as a standalone service, rather than integrating it into the social network. “Going forward, your experience with tbh won’t change, but we’ll continue to improve upon it and build features you love —but now with plenty more resources,” tbh said in a blog post.

That’s not surprising considering Facebook has historically struggled to appeal to younger teens. The company’s own standalone apps built for teens, like Lifestage and Snapchat clone Slingshot, have failed.

Still, the acquisition is a huge win for Facebook, which has been struggling to win over younger teens.

The number of teenage users on Facebook is expected to drop in 2017, according to a recent report from eMarketer — the first time the company has predicted a decline in Facebook users of any age. And a survey released by Piper Jaffray last week found that 47 percent of teens prefer Snapchat over other social networks.

But by scooping up tbh, and its 5 million+ teenage users, Facebook can now say it finally, finally, finally has a product that’s actually loved by teens.

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