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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Elon Musk is wrong: Research shows that content rules on Twitter help preserve free speech from bots and other manipulation

Elon Musk’s approved bid to buy Twitter has triggered much debate about what this means for the future of the social media platform, which plays a key role in determining news and information — many people — particular. Basically American – in contact with.

Musk has said he wants Make Twitter the Arena of Free Speech, It is unclear what this will mean, and his statements have fueled speculation among both supporters and opponents. As a corporation, Twitter can control the speech on its platform to its liking. Bills that address social media regulation are being considered by the US Congress and the European Union, but are about transparency, accountability, illegal harmful content and protecting users’ rights rather than regulating speech.

Musk’s demands for freedom of expression on Twitter centered on two allegations: political bias And extreme restraint, As researchers of online misinformation and manipulation, my colleagues at the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media study the dynamics and impact of Twitter and its abuse. To understand Musk’s statements and the possible consequences of his acquisition, let’s look at what the research shows.

political bias

many conservative politicians and pundits There have been allegations over the years that major social media platforms, including Twitter, have liberal political bias that amounted to censorship of conservative views. These claims are based on anecdotal evidence. For example, many partisans whose tweets were labeled as misleading and downranked, or whose accounts were suspended for violating the platform’s terms of service, claim that Twitter abused them for their political views. because of the target.

Unfortunately, Twitter and other platforms often enforce their policies inconsistently, so it’s easy to find examples supporting one or the other conspiracy theory. A review by the Center for Business and Human Rights at New York University found no credible evidence to support claims of conservative anti-bias by social media companies, even calling the claim a form of misinformation. has been labeled.

A more direct assessment of political bias by Twitter is difficult because of the complex interactions between people and algorithms. Of course, people have political biases. For example, our experiments with political social bots have shown that Republican users are more likely to mistake conservative bots for humans, while Democratic users are more likely to mistake conservative human users for bots.

To take human bias out of the equation in our experiments, we’ve deployed a bunch of benign social bots to Twitter. Each of these bots began by following a news source, with some bots following a liberal source and others a conservative source. After that initial friend, all the bots were left alone for a few months to “drift” into the information ecosystem. They could get followers. They acted according to a similar algorithmic behavior. This included following or following random accounts, tweeting meaningless content, and retweeting or copying random posts in their feed.

But the behavior was politically neutral, with no understanding of the content viewed or posted. We tracked bots to investigate political bias emerging from how Twitter works or how users interact.

A sample of neutral bots (yellow nodes) and their friends and followers in an experiment to measure partisan bias on Twitter. The node color indicates the political alignment of an account: red for conservative, blue for liberal, black for unknown. Node size is proportional to sharing links to low-reliability sources. Closely associated red clusters indicate stereotypical echo chambers.
Filippo MenzerCC BY-ND

Surprisingly, our research provided evidence that Twitter has conservative rather than liberal bias. On average, accounts are drawn towards the conservative side. Liberal accounts were exposed to moderate content, which shifted their experience toward the political center, while right-wing accounts’ conversation was skewed toward posting conservative content. Accounts that followed conservative news sources also gained more politically aligned followers, becoming embedded in denser echo chambers and gaining influence within those partisan communities.

These differences in experiences and actions can be attributed to interactions with users and information mediated by social media platforms. But we could not directly examine potential bias in Twitter’s News Feed algorithm, as the actual ranking of posts in the “home timeline” is not available to outside researchers.

However, Twitter researchers were able to audit the effects of its ranking algorithm on political content, revealing that the political right enjoys higher amplification than the political left. Their experiment showed that in six of the seven countries studied, conservative politicians enjoy higher algorithmic amplification than liberal ones. They also found that algorithmic amplification favors right-wing news sources in the US.

Our research and Twitter research shows that Musk clear concern about prejudice Twitter is baseless against conservatives.

Referee or Censor?

The second allegation that Musk appears to be making is that excessive restraint affects freedom of expression on Twitter. The concept of a free market of ideas is rooted in John Milton’s age-old argument that truth triumphs in the free and open exchange of ideas. This approach is often cited as the basis for the argument against moderation: accurate, relevant, timely information should emerge spontaneously from interactions between users.

Unfortunately, many aspects of modern social media hinder the free market of ideas. Limited attention and confirmation bias increase susceptibility to misinformation. Linkage-based ranking can increase noise and manipulation, and the structure of information networks can distort perceptions and “garrimand” in favor of a group.

As a result, social media users have fallen victim to manipulation by “astroturf” causes, trolling and misinformation over the years. Abuse is facilitated by social bots and coordinated networks that create the appearance of human mobs.

How propaganda works on social media and how to recognize it.

We and other researchers have observed that these unverified accounts promote misinformation, influence elections, commit financial fraud, infiltrate vulnerable communities and disrupt communications. Musk has tweeted that he wants Defeat Spam Bots and Authenticate HumansBut these are neither easy nor necessarily effective solutions.

Unauthorized accounts are used for malicious purposes beyond spam and are hard to detect, especially when they are operated by people in combination with software algorithms. And removing anonymity can harm vulnerable groups. In recent years, Twitter has implemented policies and systems to control abuses by aggressively suspending accounts and networks that exhibit unprovoked coordinated behavior. The weakening of these moderation policies could lead to abuse again.

Twitter manipulation

Despite Twitter’s recent progress, integrity on the platform is still a challenge. Our lab is finding new types of sophisticated manipulation, which we will present at the International AAAI Conference on the Web and Social Media in June. Malicious users take advantage of so-called “follow trains” – groups of people who follow each other on Twitter – to rapidly promote their followers and create large, dense hyperpartisan echo chambers that are low-credibility and conspiratorial. Increase toxic material from sources.

Another effective malicious technique is to post and then strategically remove content that violates the Platform’s terms after it has served its purpose. Even Twitter’s high limit of 2,400 tweets per day is preventable through removal: we have identified a number of accounts that flood the network with thousands of tweets per day.

We also found coordinated networks that engage in repetitive likes and dislikes of content that is eventually removed, which can manipulate ranking algorithms. These techniques enable malicious users to increase the popularity of content while avoiding detection.

Musk’s plan for Twitter to do nothing about these manipulative behaviors is unlikely.

Content Moderation and Free Speech

Musk’s possible acquisition of Twitter raises concerns that the social media platform could undercut its content moderation. This body of research shows that combating harmful misinformation requires strong, not weakening, moderation of the information ecosystem.

It also shows that weak moderation policies will ironically harm free speech: the voices of real users will be drowned out by malicious users who manipulate Twitter through unauthorized accounts, bots, and echo chambers.

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
World Nation News is a digital news portal website. Which provides important and latest breaking news updates to our audience in an effective and efficient ways, like world’s top stories, entertainment, sports, technology and much more news.
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