Jul 18, 2021

Why was my tweet about football labelled abusive?

While Twitter said it had deleted more than 1,000 racist tweets following the match, the platform has previously been criticised for failing to remove abusive content. AI is only as good as the data it is trained on, so if the data doesn't include different genders and ethnicities, then it might struggle to detect the kind of abuse that was directed at Caz.According to Dr Bertie Vidgen, a research fellow in online harms at The Turing Institute, Twitter's content moderation AI has probably been trained to pick up on words or phrases that have been flagged before. To understand what the capabilities and limitations of Twitter's model might be, he and his colleagues tested four content moderation models powered by similar AI, including two of the most popular commercial options - Perspective by Google and Two Hat's Sift Ninja. Twitter agreed to remove the violation from its system - but didn't respond to any of my other questions about how its content moderation system actually works. Despite Twitter itself stating that harassment isn't tolerated on the platform, Twitter told me that the tweets Caz received were "Not in violation of Twitter rules".

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