Published By: The Huffington Post, 3/1/2017
Twitter is making efforts to crack down on harassment on their platform using several strategies: enhancing the Mute feature with new screening options, increasing automatic flagging of potential abuse, and trying to be more transparent about how they handle harassment. By reducing harassment, Twitter hopes to increase its user base and attract more investors.
Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of Article: 12
Extended Discussion Questions
- If you use Twitter, do you find the Mute feature helpful? Why or why not? (Caution: It may be helpful to ask students not to bring up personal examples that involve anyone known to others in the class.)
- Do you think you will find the new options more helpful? Why or why not?
- Are there any drawbacks the Mute feature might have for Twitter users?
- Do you view these types of measures as censorship?
- If so, is this a case where censorship is okay?
- In handling potential cases of harassment, how should Twitter balance their responsibilities to possible abusers vs. their responsibilities to possible victims of abuse?
- (Note: It may be helpful to remind students that the U.S. Constitution only protects them from government interference with freedom of speech; companies have the legal right to control the content they disseminate.)
- If you were trying to build a model of what harassing vs. non-harassing comments looked like, what kind of data would you need?
- How might you account for the differences in what different users see as harassment?
- What potential issues might arise in implementing an automated system because of these differences in humans’ perspectives?
Relating This Story to the CSP Curriculum Framework
Global Impact Learning Objectives:
- LO 7.1.1 Explain how computing innovations affect communication, interaction, and cognition.
- LO 7.3.1 Analyze the beneficial and harmful effects of computing.
- LO 7.4.1 Explain the connections between computing and real-world contexts, including economic, social, and cultural contexts.
Global Impact Essential Knowledge:
- EK 7.1.1C Social media continues to evolve and fosters new ways to communicate.
- EK 7.3.1E Commercial and governmental censorship of digital information raise legal and ethical concerns.
Other CSP Big Ideas:
- Idea 3 Data and Information
- Idea 4 Algorithms
Banner Image: “Network Visualization – Violet – Offset Crop“, derivative work by ICSI. New license: CC BY-SA 4.0. Based on “Social Network Analysis Visualization” by Martin Grandjean. Original license: CC BY-SA 3.0.