Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Twitter has selected two proposals to study user interactions and discourse since putting out a call in March for help in measuring "conversation health" on its service.

Why it matters: A growing number of users have been taking time off Twitter, using it less, or quitting it altogether in recent times as they say the service has become mentally toxic.

The two proposals, which Twitter selected from more than 230 submissions:

1. Echo chambers and uncivil discourse: This project will measure the extent of how much Twitter users interact and acknowledge a variety of viewpoints.

  • It will also work on developing algorithms that can distinguish between incivility and tolerance.
  • Uncivil discourse, which breaks the norms of politeness, can serve important functions in political discourse. Intolerance, on the other hand, is defined as including hate speech, racism, and so on, and goes against democracy, per Twitter and the researcher team.
  • This is led by professors from Leiden University, Syracuse University, Delft University of Technology, and Bocconi University.

2. Interactions and decreasing prejudice: This project will study how user behavior on Twitter can (or not) decrease prejudice and discrimination when interacting with users of diverse viewpoints.

  • "When the communication between groups contains more positive sentiments, cooperative emotions, and more complex thinking and reasoning from multiple perspectives, prejudice is reduced and relations can improve," Twitter says.
  • This is led by professors from the University of Oxford and the University of Amsterdam.

Yes, but: Twitter will still have to figure out what to do about the problematic interactions or trends these proposals unearth. And this won't solve some of the big criticisms of the company, including its policies and enforcement regarding abusive and harassing behavior. Some victims have said there are times they don't feel they are getting the help they need from the company.

Go deeper

Updated 48 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 a.m. ET: 12,740,971 — Total deaths: 565,716 — Total recoveries — 7,022,846Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8:30 a.m. ET: 3,247,782 — Total deaths: 134,815 — Total recoveries: 995,576 — Total tested: 39,553,395Map.
  3. Politics: Trump wears face mask in public for first time.
  4. Public health: Fauci hasn't briefed Trump on the coronavirus pandemic in at least two months — We're losing the war on the coronavirus.
  5. States: Louisiana governor issues face mask mandate.
  6. World: India reimposes lockdowns as coronavirus cases soar.
2 hours ago - World

Hundreds of thousands vote in Hong Kong's opposition primaries

Photo: Isaac Lawrence/AFP via Getty Images

Organizers say more than 500,000 Hong Kong residents have voted in primary elections held by pro-democracy opposition groups on Saturday and Sunday, despite fears of a government crackdown under Beijing's draconian new national security law, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The primaries, which aren't part of the city's official political process, are intended to whittle down the field of pro-democracy candidates in order to avoid splitting the vote against pro-China ruling politicians in September's legislative elections.

Biden's doctrine: Erase Trump, re-embrace the world

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto, and Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Foreign policy will look drastically different if Joe Biden defeats President Trump in November, advisers tell Axios — starting with a Day One announcement that the U.S. is re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and new global coordination of the coronavirus response.

The big picture: If Trump's presidency started the "America First" era of withdrawal from global alliances, Biden's team says his presidency would be the opposite: a re-engagement with the world and an effort to rebuild those alliances — fast.