Aug 14, 2019

Twitter's plans: Follow topics, edit tweets someday

Photo: ALASTAIR PIKE/AFP/Getty Images)

Twitter revealed on Tuesday in a gathering with journalists that’s it’s planning to roll out a feature that lets users follow specific topics on the service. The social network is testing a bevy of new features like conversation moderation, search for private messages, and more.

Yes, but: The company also used the event to discuss some of its work and processes in areas like user safety, “health” of the service, and security — areas in which Twitter has been heavily criticized for failing to take swift or clear action to solve problems.

Some highlights:

  • Twitter conversations: Along with experimenting with threading conversation replies, the company is also “re-energizing [its] investment in DMs,” said product management director Sara Haider, which will include an upcoming search function for direct messages.
  • User control: The company is testing various ways to let users exert more control over their experience of the service. For example, in Canada it’s testing the ability for users to moderate replies to their tweets by downgrading certain responses.
  • Content moderation: Twitter now has nearly 1,500 employees focused on moderation and responding to content reports, who are now spread across 9 locations around the world (up from 2 locations a year ago, according to Twitter Service vice president Donald Hicks).
  • Trust and safety vice president Del Harvey also confirmed that the company has yet to use its new “public interest interstitial” label created for cases in which a it doesn’t take down content from a public figure that violates its rules.
  • Edit button: “It’s a feature that we should build at some point but it’s not anywhere near the top of our priorities,” said product chief Kayvon Beykpour, adding that Twitter should find a way to help people fix typos, or clarify what they said, though there are obvious risks that such a feature could be abused.
  • Interest topics: Beykpour said there will be topics that Twitter will bar from emerging as ones users could follow, though he didn’t use any specifics or examples (he was prompted by a reporter’s question about topics like anti-vaccination).
  • Vine: “I do regret that we shut down Vine,” said Beykpour, adding his regret has nothing to do with Chinese short-video app TikTok’s growing popularity. “I think Vine was really amazing and was on the forefront of giving people tools to experiment with video.”

Go deeper

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 5,453,784 — Total deaths: 345,886 — Total recoveries — 2,191,310Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 2 p.m. ET: 1,651,254 — Total deaths: 97,850 — Total recoveries: 366,736 — Total tested: 14,163,915Map.
  3. World: Top Boris Johnson aide defends himself after allegations he broke U.K. lockdown — WHO suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns.
  4. 2020: Trump threatens to move Republican convention from North Carolina — Joe Biden makes first public appearance in two months.
  5. Public health: Officials are urging Americans to wear masks over Memorial Day.
  6. Economy: White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett says it's possible the unemployment rate could still be in double digits by November's election — Charities refocus their efforts to fill gaps left by government.
  7. What should I do? Hydroxychloroquine questions answeredTraveling, asthma, dishes, disinfectants and being contagiousMasks, lending books and self-isolatingExercise, laundry, what counts as soap — Pets, moving and personal healthAnswers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingHow to minimize your risk.
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it, the right mask to wear.

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Updated 51 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Joe Biden makes first public appearance in over two months

Photo: Oliver Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden made his first in-person appearance in over two months on Monday to honor Memorial Day by laying a wreath at a Delaware veterans park, AP reports.

Why it matters: Biden, the Democratic Party's presumptive nominee, has taken the unprecedented step of campaigning from his home during the coronavirus pandemic, ever since canceling a rally in Cleveland on March 10.

WHO temporarily suspends trial of hydroxychloroquine over safety concerns

Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

The World Health Organization is temporarily pausing tests of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a coronavirus treatment in order to review safety concerns, the agency's director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesu said Monday.

Why it matters: The decision comes after a retrospective review published in The Lancet found that coronavirus patients who took hydroxychloroquine or its related drug chloroquine were more likely to die or develop an irregular heart rhythm that can lead to sudden cardiac death, compared to those who did nothing.