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Jack Dorsey speaking at TED2019. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios

In an effort to make Twitter a healthier place, CEO Jack Dorsey said the company is looking to change the focus from following specific individuals to tracking topics of interest, a significant shift from the way the service has always operated.

Why it matters: Twitter remains filled with harassment, especially for women, people of color and LGBTQ communities.

Dorsey acknowledged that what's incentivized today on the service is at odds with the goal of healthy dialogue.

"In the past it’s incented a lot of outrage," he said. "It’s incented a lot of mob behavior. It’s incented a lot of group harassment."

Dorsey highlighted a couple of key priorities.

  • Fighting abuse: The company has also stepped up its ability to proactively remove abuse without users having to first report it to Twitter. Twitter's automated systems now catch about 38% of abusive tweets, Dorsey said at TED on Tuesday. While still a minority, that's up from zero a year earlier, when all abuse had to be manually reported.
  • Making the site more meaningful: "You don’t necessarily walk away feeling you have learned something," he said. "It takes a lot of time and a lot of work to build up to that."

The bottom line: Dorsey said he's not worried that those changes could mean people will spend less time on Twitter. "If more relevance means less time on the service, that’s perfectly fine," he said, adding that if people are having conversations, Twitter "can still serve an ad against that."

Twitter shared additional details in a blog post.

Update: The full video is now live.

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - World

17 U.S. and Canadian missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

Haitian soldiers guard the public prosecutor's office in Port-au-Prince this month. Photo: Richard Pierrin/AFP via Getty Images

American officials and authorities in Haiti are working to try and free 17 hostages from a U.S.-based missionary group who were kidnapped in Port-au-Prince over the weekend, AP reported Monday.

The latest: Christian Aid Ministries said in a statement Sunday, "The group of 16 U.S citizens and one Canadian citizen includes five men, seven women, and five children." The Ohio-based organization said they were on a trip to visit an orphanage when they were kidnapped Saturday.

China's economic growth slows

A worker assembles heavy truck engines in Hangzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang Province, on Monday. Photo: Long We/Costfoto/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

China's economy grew 4.9% in the third quarter of 2021 compared with a year earlier, the country's National Bureau of Statistics announced Monday.

Why it matters: The gross domestic product growth in the July-September period in the world’s second-largest economy marked the "weakest pace since the third quarter of 2020 and slowing from 7.9% in the second quarter," Reuters notes.

5 hours ago - World

Former spy Steele defends controversial Trump Russia dossier

Former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele arrives at the High Court in London in July 2020. Photo: Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images

The author of the "Steele Dossier," containing unverified claims about former President Trump told ABC News he stands by his controversial report, according to excerpts from an upcoming documentary released Sunday.

Why it matters: The FBI drew on former U.K. intelligence officer Christopher Steele's dossier as part of its investigation into the Trump campaign's alleged links to Russia's government, which led to former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe.