Twitter wants help measuring healthy online interactions

Twitter, which some people use to abuse, harass and manipulate others, is soliciting proposals from the public to help the social network capture, measure and evaluate healthy interactions on the platform. This is part of Twitter’s commitment “to help increase the collective health, openness, and civility of public conversation,” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted earlier this morning.

Twitter did not “fully predict or understand the real-world consequences” of instant, public and global conversations, Dorsey tweeted. In an effort to combat these unhealthy interactions, he said, Twitter is looking to build a framework to encourage healthy interactions. The idea to measure healthy interactions came from some conversations with team members from nonprofit research organization Cortico.

“They came up with four indicators: shared attention, shared reality, variety of opinion, and receptivity,” Dorsey tweeted.

It’s not clear if those are the right metrics for Twitter, Dorsey said, but what is clear is Twitter must “commit to a rigorous and independently vetted set of metrics to measure the health of public conversation on Twitter.”

In order to accomplish that, Twitter says it intends to partner with outside experts. Interested parties can submit proposals that describe proposed health metrics, and methods for capturing, measuring, evaluating and reporting them. Those selected will work with Twitter’s team, and get access to Twitter’s public data and funding to carry out the research.

Twitter’s efforts to figure out how to make the platform a safer, healthier place for everyone comes in tandem with Facebook’s efforts to ensure time well spent on the social network. Facebook’s current work entails prioritizing news from trusted publishers and focusing more on information that is relevant to where people live.

Twitter, of course, has been trying to get its act together for years. In October, Twitter announced its plans to crack down on hate symbols and violent groups. Just last month, Twitter also updated its policies on tweets that encourage self-harm and suicide.