Twitter finally seems to be coming to grips with the extent of its problems. It’s now publicly admitting to them, and it says it’s trying to fix them.
The unhealthy platform has let its issues fester for years. Its feeds have long been filled with trolls, misinformation, performative outrage, and abuse. And recent Congressional scrutiny has exposed how woefully unprepared it is to mitigate state-sponsored manipulation of its platform.
On Thursday afternoon, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey went live on Periscope to talk about this new focus, explaining that Twitter is trying to work to increase its platform’s “health,” an umbrella term under which it’s currently lumping its plan to fix all these problems. On the broadcast, Dorsey was joined by the company’s legal, policy, and trust and safety lead Vijaya Gadde, its head of Trust & Safety Del Harvey, and its health product manager David Gasca. The quartet did their best to explain what “health” means to Twitter, essentially admitting that the company is starting at square one.
Twitter, Dorsey said, is trying to define what health means and how to measure it, and eventually it would like to give its users the option to choose a more healthy experience. Twitter, he said, “can do a much better job at giving people tools to choose more health, for however we end up measuring that and defining that, which is still being worked on.”
If that sounds vague to you, well, it is. Which is why we’re left with plenty of questions about this effort that’s purportedly poised to change the way Twitter works. Here are five to start: