Culture It’s time to end “trending” on Twitter - At best, it’s worthless — and at worst, it’s actively harmful

Should Twitter's trending feed be removed?

  • Yes, its filled with annoying left-wing propaganda

    Votes: 37 24.2%
  • No, it will destroy a source of lulz

    Votes: 57 37.3%
  • Don't know/Don't Care

    Votes: 59 38.6%

  • Total voters
    153

Pickle Dick

my last avatar was just too islamic for the mods
kiwifarms.net

By now you’ve probably read enough about the disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein, his death in a Manhattan jail, and the attendant conspiracy theories that consumed social networks over the weekend. President Trump led the charge, retweeting a conspiracy theory that sought to implicate former President Bill Clinton.

While there is much blame to go around, Charlie Warzel finds that Twitter bears a special responsibility for what one researcher termed “the Disinformation World Cup.” Warzel writes:
At the heart of the online fiasco is Twitter, which has come to largely program the political conversation and much of the press. Twitter is magnetic during huge breaking stories; news junkies flock to it for up-to-the-second information. But early on, there’s often a vast discrepancy between the attention that is directed at the platform and the available information about the developing story. That gap is filled by speculation and, via its worst users, rumormongering and conspiracy theories.

On Saturday, Twitter’s trending algorithms hoovered up the worst of this detritus, curating, ranking and then placing it in the trending module on the right side of its website. Despite being a
highly arbitrary and mostly “worthless metric,” trending topics on Twitter are often interpreted as a vague signal of the importance of a given subject.

This hands-off approach to editorial intervention in the news cycle, coupled with algorithms that promote the most popular posts, is by now a familiar villain. It played a key role in, for example, the promotion of anti-vaccine zealots on Facebook, and the growth of Alex Jones’ audience on YouTube. The Epstein case was already a conspiracy theorist’s dream before he apparently hanged himself in his jail cell; in the early hours after his death, when little information was still available, Twitter was a perfect petri dish for proposing and amplifying outrageous conspiracy theories.

As Warzel points out, Twitter amplified those conspiracies via its trending algorithm, which has long since outlived its usefulness. Brian Feldman explained why in 2018:
The first problem with “trending” is that it selects and highlights content with no eye toward accuracy, or quality. Automated trending systems are not equipped to make judgments; they can determine if things are being shared, but they cannot determine whether that content should be shared further. [...]

This is the other problem of “trending,” conceptually: It’s eminently gameable, but the platforms that use the term never make the rules clear. “Trending” is given the imprimatur of authority — videos or topics handed down from on high, scientifically determined to have trended — when really it’s a cobbled-together list of content being obsessively shared or tweeted about by people who love Justin Bieber. Or Logan Paul. Or who believe in crisis actors.


Removing algorithmically generated modules of trending content would deny bad actors an easily gamed avenue for delivering hoaxes to platforms’ user bases. A more modest approach might be to build editorial teams that keep watch over trending hashtags and remove obvious hoaxes and conspiracy theories.

But what if that were ... illegal?

That’s the question I had after reading coverage of the White House’s vague but unsettling plan to have the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission police censorship on social networks. Brian Fung saw a partial draft:
The draft order, a summary of which was obtained by CNN, calls for the FCC to develop new regulations clarifying how and when the law protects social media websites when they decide to remove or suppress content on their platforms. Although still in its early stages and subject to change, the Trump administration’s draft order also calls for the Federal Trade Commission to take those new policies into account when it investigates or files lawsuits against misbehaving companies. Politico first reported the existence of the draft.

If put into effect, the order would reflect a significant escalation by President Trump in his frequent attacks against social media companies over an alleged but unproven systemic bias against conservatives by technology platforms. And it could lead to a significant reinterpretation of a law that, its authors have insisted, was meant to give tech companies broad freedom to handle content as they see fit.


Fung talks to experts who describe the plan variously as “horrible” and “makes no sense.” No one seems to think that the FCC or FTC want to do this work, or could do this work, either practically or constitutionally. It’s just one more disturbing idea floated by the Trump Administration that leaves us all wondering whether to take it seriously, literally, or not at all.

I believe you can’t have editorial neutrality without having Nazis and other purveyors of hate speech and abuse. I also believe that restricting platforms from moderating content beyond what is required by law would threaten their businesses — Nazis have a way of chasing away users and advertisers.

It would be heartening if Twitter took this moment to retire trending topics and take other concrete steps to slow the spread of conspiracy theories. But the White House’s aggressive saber rattling would seem to make that less likely.
Lol, what drugs are you on? Sure the constant Epstein conspiracy theories are annoying, but the fact is that there is far more liberal propaganda in the Twitter trending feed than anything actually harmful imo.
 

neverendingmidi

it just goes on and on and on and on...
kiwifarms.net
This is just a rant about Trump considering new regulations for the FCC given tech's habit of only controlling one side's posts.

I'm slightly surprised, I supposed another article about white supremacy controlling the trends (as shown by Cuomo being called that ethnic slur "Fredo"), but nope, it's Trump all the time.
 

Clop

kiwifarms.net
Electoral college giving Trump the winning vote? "Why electoral college is actually racist"
Free speech lets people speak uncomfortable statistics? "Free speech is actually hypocrisy"
Anonymity gives people incentive to speak their minds? "Anonymity is harmful to democracy"
Twitter's trend leans on the side of right-wing narratives? "It's time to end trending on Twitter"

You Americans crack me up every year.
 

melty

True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Really? This is the issue that makes Twitter problematic?

If nothing else this whole Epstein business has made it easier than ever to determine which outlets are in nefarious pockets. This nonsense, "It was totally a suicide, why would you think otherwise?" "Actually the real problem is the prison guards were overworked because of Trump" anyone posting this is on my shit list (not that they weren't already though)
 

Far Queue

kiwifarms.net
Sure the constant Epstein conspiracy theories are annoying, but the fact is that there is far more liberal propaganda in the Twitter trending feed than anything actually harmful imo.
That's the thing about the so-called progressives. They're so utterly intolerant that it's isn't enough for them to win half of the time, or even most of the time. They just have to do it every time and can't suffer any even the merest slight to their presumed moral superiority. That's part of the reason why they'll devour each other so readily.
 

Big Bad Fish

Fresh
True & Honest Fan
kiwifarms.net
Electoral college giving Trump the winning vote? "Why electoral college is actually racist"
Free speech lets people speak uncomfortable statistics? "Free speech is actually hypocrisy"
Anonymity gives people incentive to speak their minds? "Anonymity is harmful to democracy"
Twitter's trend leans on the side of right-wing narratives? "It's time to end trending on Twitter"

You Americans crack me up every year.
Imagine being some yuropoor or canadian.
You wake up and thank the government for allowing you the right to use the internet. Then you check the curated news for the opinions you're allowed to hold and decide to check on your favorite allowed website, kiwifarms. After a few snarky quips about America you get hungry so you need some food. Your expensive apartment is too small for a kitchen so you venture out into the world for sustenance.
After you've walked few blocks from your home since yuropoors aren't allowed to own cars, you get to town and have the choice of kebab or some tasteless european slop. You choose the kebab. Diarrhea is punishment for not being tolerant enough.
Upon getting home you sit down and get back online. Someone has called you a gay yuropoor and you're preparing a textual fatality to counter it. You've been thinking of it all day and you're prepared.
Before you can hit send, your door is kicked in. Some returning islamic travelers kick in your door and knife you. Your last thoughts, like most of your other waking thoughts, are of America.
The troubled youth are given a slap on the wrist and your apartment is renovated to be given to an indian family.
 

LordOfTheBleach

;);
kiwifarms.net
Here’s a better idea, end Twitter entirely. Shut the garbage down, it’s destroyed discourse in this country and made it even more polarized than ever before.

Edit: I knew this would be about #clintonbodycount before I clicked the link. Liberals have the sandiest vaginas.
I'd agree but twitter tards would just migrate to another app/website
 

Jewelsmakerguy

(Cheesy 80s music intensifies)
kiwifarms.net
If this leads to the downfall of twitter as a thing, then I'm all for it.

Unfortunately, I feel like this means Masterdon or Facebook will become the new "hub" for many of these people.
 
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Cloacan

kiwifarms.net
Oy vey the masses are disagreeing with the narrative, shut it down!
Screenshot_20190810-154707.jpg
The first problem with “trending” is that it selects and highlights content with no eye toward accuracy, or quality.
Why should accuracy or quality come into play at all? If its trending, its trending. If its something you don't like? Too bad, the people have spoken. What is the point of trending if its going to be sold and curated? Let trends trend or let trends end.
 
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