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posted by martyb on Tuesday May 23 2017, @12:22PM   Printer-friendly
from the closing-the-barn-door dept.

If anyone knows how important Twitter is to Donald Trump, it's the president.

“Without the tweets, I wouldn't be here,” he told the Financial Times last month.

To which Twitter's co-founder says: Sorry about that, world.

Evan Williams, who still sits on the company's board of directors, recently told The New York Times that he wants to repair the damage he thinks Twitter and the broader Internet have wrought on society in the form of trolls, cyberbullies, live-streamed violence, fake news and — yes — Trump.

“I thought once everybody could speak freely and exchange information and ideas, the world is automatically going to be a better place,” Williams told the Times. “I was wrong about that.”

“If it’s true that he wouldn’t be president if it weren’t for Twitter, then yeah, I’m sorry,” he said.

Is Twitter responsible?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2017, @03:40AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2017, @03:40AM (#514656)

    What you're saying is contradicted by reality. There has been research [] indicating that downvoting sort of mechanisms have a paradoxically negative effect. It actually encourages further negative behavior and reciprocation. People do change their behavior - they start acting even more extreme and with even greater blase disregard for feedback.

    In any case Trump does not think his messages are well received by Twitter users. He's certainly looked at his comments and it's invariably nothing but people/bots who following him 24/7 just to get a chance to spam his next message with lots of inane memes and trolling. Again another major point here is that though many relevant figures use Twitter as a publishing platform, the actual users of Twitter are in no way representative of the real world. This is something Trump is certainly aware of as well. His messages (and those of people like e.g. Musk) get out to vastly more people than Twitter users, which is the reason for their usage of the platform. The views of Twitter users themselves are not relevant and I see little benefit in trying to magnify them, be they positive or negative. Again, I'd think a mutually acceptable compromise would be to push for removal of all negative and positive feedback. Let messages stand by themselves and let people actually communicate instead of seeing who can game a number the most.

  • (Score: 2) by fyngyrz on Wednesday May 24 2017, @04:58AM (1 child)

    by fyngyrz (6567) on Wednesday May 24 2017, @04:58AM (#514677) Journal

    People do change their behavior - they start acting even more extreme and with even greater blase disregard for feedback.

    That's precisely what is needed: the bad apples to expose themselves further, and for people to see it happen.

    Rather than a +1,000 all-is-roses echo chamber.

    And for those pols who are actually trying to do the right thing.... that'll work too.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2017, @05:52PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2017, @05:52PM (#514975)

      Just because something is downvoted hardly means it or the person speaking is a "bad apple." Most social media sites trend towards becoming hiveminds and aggressively downvote anything that goes against their own biases, aggressively upvote anything that confirms them. The only behavior stronger than this is voting not for what is said, but who said it. Trump, for instance, could say the most benevolent, kind-hearted, optimistic message and would be met by thousands of downvotes. The same would be true of e.g. Obama, with biases reversed. Consequently all the voting system turns into is an informal poll of the biases of a site, and given Twitter's extreme detachment from reality I'm again not seeing any value no matter how you try to spin this. Perhaps it would be a nice idea on a site representative of the world, but we're so quick to try to chase away voices that we feel oppose us that everybody is self segregating themselves - no such site with a representative diversity of views really exists.