Twitter tests ‘humanization prompts’ in effort to reduce toxic replies

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Bhawani Singhhttps://techmepro.com
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Twitter wants you to remember that there are actual people on the other side of your replies. 

The company began testing a new feature, dubbed humanization prompts, on Thursday with the goal of improving conversational health on the platform. As part of the test, some Twitter users will be presented with the shared interests and mutual followers of the accounts they’re replying to.


In other words, humanization prompts aim to not-so-subtly point out what Twitter users have in common. But don’t be surprised if you personally don’t see the prompts. The test will only go into effect for approximately 10 percent of English-speaking Android users. 

“It’s human nature to feel wary when replying to someone you don’t know,” Christine Su, senior product manager for conversations at Twitter, explained in an emailed statement. “In the heat of the moment, people can forget there’s another human behind a Twitter account. By showing what we have in common, we hope to remind people of what connects us as a starting point.”

Everyone loves dogs.


Everyone loves dogs.

The humanization prompt represents the latest in a long-running campaign focused on so-called conversational health. Announced by Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a 2018 , the effort to measure — and subsequently improve — the state of discourse on the platform has been a bumpy one. 

Some efforts, like limiting who can reply to tweets and deemphasizing “troll-like behaviors,” have been well received by Twitter users. Others, like altering the retweet functionality to emphasize quote tweets, were later abandoned. Throughout, however, the overall messaging has been relatively consistent and lines up with the stated goal of humanization prompts.   

“We hope this helps encourage thoughtful conversations between strangers on Twitter,” Su wrote.

SEE ALSO: Twitter ‘exploring’ adding a dislike button or downvote system

It’s not clear exactly how long the test will run, but a Twitter spokesperson did explain how the company will judge whether or not the prompts will be considered a success. Twitter wants to see “less toxic replies, or a more thoughtful [and] more human connection” on the platform, the spokesperson explained over the phone. 

It’s unclear if reminding people about their shared interests will have that effect, but hey, there’s only one way to find out. 

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