Twitter will allow you to follow “topics” instead of just user accounts

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The network explores other developments for 2020 that aim to limit harassment.

A new Twitter user should start from day one to look for accounts that interest him among the millions there are. What are the good ones? From November 13 you will have a great help: follow “topics” that interest you. It will no longer be necessary to know which accounts are the most useful on a subject. Users can choose their preferred interests from a selection of Twitter: a football team, a video game or a Korean pop band.

Now hashtags cover a similar need, but they depend on the present and tweets are not cared for. In the new “themes”, Twitter will offer a selection of about 300 topics of interest – which will grow – and select the tweets. How? The manager of “issues” (which in English called  Topics ) on Twitter, Rob Bishop, explains it on the web The Verge, which has published the novelty.

The network will scan to see who is talking about the chosen topics. Then, you will see if that account usually tweets about that matter, which would add credibility. Finally, if people who are also aware of that “topic” have interacted with that tweet. The more people show attention for that tweet, the more options you have to appear in the “Theme”.

Twitter has this new function in the testing phase since August and has now decided to take the plunge. The network in Spain does not yet confirm whether there will be some specifically Spanish in that first group of “themes”: sports teams or local artists. Although it seems obvious that the algorithm will offer tweets in Spanish and a mix of local and international optics for global issues.

The tweets of the “themes” chosen will appear mixed with the accounts that each one follows in their timeline, with a mark where they will notice that it is there because it is one of the “themes” chosen by the user. The resource has more logic for new or sporadic users, who may cost more or be more lazy to choose useful accounts to follow. According to Bishop, those less faithful users who follow fewer individual accounts will see more tweets of the “themes” they choose.

One of the “issues” that Twitter will leave parked at the moment is politics. After announcing that they were not going to allow political announcements on the platform, it seems logical that Twitter does not want to select tweets about political parties or controversies and that suddenly the algorithm promotes critical or credible visions with hardly any control.

The news against harassment

The arrival of “themes” is confirmed for the next few days. But Twitter always has news in preparation that often never comes to light. This Wednesday Dantley Davis, vice president of Sieño and Investigation of Twitter, published a list of functions that are being tested for 2020. Some were already known and Davis did not clarify their viability. “The characteristics mentioned are ideas that we are exploring: testing and experimentation have always been part of our process,” Twitter sources say.

Davis’s list includes mostly measures that will help if implemented to prevent harassment and increase control. Each user can leave a conversation in which he has been locked up, not allow a tweet of his to be retweeted, prevent others from mentioning him without his permission, remove a user from a conversation and tweet only for a group of users, hashtag or subject of interest.

If they are applied, each of these functions will have particular results. The limit to the retuit of a tweet that goes viral can be a way to protect yourself from harassment by a phrase that in some communities can be misunderstood. That will not prevent messages from circulating asking to go to the account of such a person to see what he has said. But it introduces obstacles in the process. More if combined with the limitation of being able to be mentioned by others.

Finally, Twitter will also tag the threads and avoid the heavy users of “thread!” or “thread goes”.

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