Our approach to recommendations

Overview

Every day, people come to Twitter to keep up with what’s happening. The choices you make when using Twitter, such as the accounts and Topics you follow and the Lists you create or join, help determine the content you see. For example, when you follow an account or Topic, those Tweets will appear in your Home timeline alongside others we think you might be interested in.     

In addition to showing content from accounts and Topics you follow, we also make recommendations to make it easier and faster for you to find content and accounts that are relevant to your interests. Our recommendations are based upon a variety of signals, including, but not limited to, interests you choose during onboarding, accounts & Topics you follow, Tweets you’ve liked, retweeted, or otherwise engaged with, and content that is popular in your network. We share recommendations on various areas on Twitter, including Notifications, Topic Landing Pages, Explore, Spaces Tab, and on the Home timeline. 

 

Recommending responsibly 

Recommendations may amplify content, so it’s important they’re surfaced responsibly. Promoting healthy conversations is one of Twitter’s core principles; “freedom of speech is a fundamental human right — but freedom to have that speech amplified by Twitter is not.” While our enforcement philosophy empowers people to understand different sides of an issue by allowing many forms of speech to exist on our platform, we also work hard to prevent the amplification of harmful content on Twitter. 

We have several ways of preventing potentially harmful or offensive content and accounts from being amplified, including using machine learning technology, reviewing user reports, and other tools. So, while harmful or offensive content and accounts may still exist on the Twitter platform, they may not be eligible for amplification in the following ways: 

  • As a recommendation in Home timeline from someone you don’t follow

  • As part of the top section of Replies in Tweet details or conversations

  • As a recommendation on the “For you tab” in Explore 

  • As a push notification 

Content that can’t be recommended will still be available on Twitter to people who follow the Tweet author and on the Tweet author’s profile.

Prioritizing safety

During important events including, but not limited to, certain crises and elections, the likelihood, immediacy, severity, and potential for harm may increase significantly. We take additional steps in these cases to prevent potentially misleading or harmful content from being inadvertently amplified. For example, during events such as civic processes and certain crises, we may proactively recommend informative messages or updates to add context to disputed or potentially misleading narratives that emerge. This includes creating Twitter Moments and launching prebunks, which proactively feature informative messages or updates designed to counter emergent misleading narratives.

Content ineligible for recommendations 

Because there is a range of enforcement options for certain potential violations, Twitter does not always take down potentially problematic content. However, we strive to keep the following categories of content out of our recommendations: 

  1. Content from state-affiliated media accounts or the accounts of governments that are known to restrict access to the open internet during armed interstate conflicts.

  2. Content that includes information known to be obtained through a hack and does not come from websites (specific articles or whole domains) that comment on or distribute materials in the course of some additional purpose, such as journalist coverage or commentary. 

  3. Content that violates any of the Twitter Rules, but has been left on the platform due to the public-interest exception.

  4. Content that promotes the use of regulated substances or weapons.

  5. Content that is deemed marginally abusive and is ineligible for amplification under our safety policies, including our Abusive Behavior and Hateful Conduct policies

  6. ​​Harmful misleading information, including violations of the Civic integrity policy, COVID-19 misleading information policy, Synthetic and manipulated media policy, and any other misleading information policies listed at help.twitter.com/misinfo.

  7. Content that automated systems have determined may violate the Twitter Rules, but that has not yet been reviewed by a human and/or may have been identified in error.

Accounts ineligible for recommendations

Because there is a range of enforcement options for certain potential violations, Twitter does not suspend all potentially problematic accounts. However, we strive to keep the following categories of accounts out of our recommendations: 

  1. Accounts that recently violated the Twitter Rules

  2. Accounts sharing harmful misleading information, including violations of the Civic integrity policy, COVID-19 misleading information policy, and Synthetic and manipulated media policy, and any other misleading information policies listed at help.twitter.com/misinfo.

  3. Accounts that are thought to be engaged in spammy behavior. 

  4. Accounts that engage in coordinated harmful activity.

  5. Accounts that contain graphic violence or hateful imagery in Twitter profile elements.

  6. Accounts labeled as state-affiliated media or which belong to states that limit access to free information and are engaged in armed interstate conflict. 

     

Where can I find recommendations? 

We share recommendations on various areas on Twitter including Notifications, Topic Landing Pages, Explore, Spaces Tab, and the Home timeline. Below, we share more about recommendations on the Home timeline, Explore, and Notifications. 

Home timeline 

Home shows Tweets from accounts and Topics you follow, as well as other recommended content. This means you will sometimes see Tweets in your Home timeline from accounts you don't follow. We recommend Tweets to you based on a variety of signals including, but not limited to, accounts you follow, Topics you follow, Tweets you like, Tweets liked by those in your network, and accounts followed by those in your network. You may also see content such as promoted Tweets or Retweets from accounts you follow in your Home timeline. 

We want you to understand why you’re seeing certain recommendations in your Home timeline. We do this in various ways, including by adding context to the Tweet you see, such as the name of the Topic, or who in your network follows or has Retweeted the Tweet author.    

Learn more about the Home timeline and how you can control what you see in Home.

Explore 

Explore catches you up on a range of subjects, tailored to your interests. This is where Twitter shows you what’s happening, right now. The more you use Twitter, the more personalized the Explore tab gets. Explore tabs may vary based on your location. Typically, you’ll see these sections under Explore:

  • For you: Trends, Events, Topics, and Moments that Twitter thinks you'll enjoy most, based on your activity.

  • Trending: what’s happening in the world. Trends displayed on the Trending tab represent what's trending within a specific geographic area, and are not personalized for every account. 

  • News, Sports, COVID-19, Entertainment tabs: other top stories or news related to different subjects. Availability of these tabs may vary based on your location.

More about trends 

Trends are meant to help you discover emerging topics of discussion on Twitter, and are determined by algorithms that identify conversations that are popular now, rather than topics that have been popular over a period of time. One input used by the algorithm to rank and determine Trends is the number of Tweets relating to a given topic. Algorithmically, Trends and hashtags are grouped together if they are related to the same topic. For instance, #MondayMotivation and #MotivationMonday may both be represented by #MondayMotivation.

When you’re signed into your account, Trends are tailored for you based on your account location. However, you have the ability to see what’s trending in other locations by changing your location setting. 

Learn more about Explore and Trends

Notifications

Notifications help you stay in-the-know about the things you care about by sending you alerts. You can choose between notifications related to you and your Tweets and recommended notifications. From the Notifications timeline, you’ll be able to see which of your Tweets have been liked, the latest Retweets (of your Tweets), Tweets directed to you (replies and mentions), your new List followers, recommended notifications for you based on your activity on Twitter, as well as your new account followers. In addition to these notifications, we also elevate content that we think you’ll be most interested in and contributes to the conversation in a meaningful way, such as content that is relevant, credible, and safe as described above.

Notifications are personalized to each Twitter account and you can choose which notifications you want to receive for either your web browser or your mobile device. In addition to choosing notifications preferences, you have other options within the settings menu to filter the notifications you receive. These options include: quality filter, muted words, preferences, and advanced filters.

  • Quality filter, when turned on, it filters lower-quality content from your notifications, for example, duplicate Tweets or content that appears to be automated — it does not filter notifications from people you follow or accounts you’ve recently interacted with. You have the option to turn this on or off in your notifications settings. 

  • Mute allows you to mute notifications for particular words and phrases you’d like to avoid seeing in your notifications. You can learn more about muting words and phrases here. You can also mute notifications for accounts you'd like to avoid seeing notifications from. This includes muting accounts you follow or don't know. For muted accounts you follow, replies and mentions by the muted account will still appear in your notifications timeline. You can learn more about muting accounts here.

  • Advanced filters allow you to disable notifications from certain types of accounts you’d like to avoid. In addition, if your account receives a lot of sudden attention, we may insert a notification in your Notifications tab inviting you to adjust these filters to give you more control over what you see.

  • Preferences allow you to choose which types of notifications you’d want to receive via email and on your mobile device. Some of these notification types include Mentions and replies, Topics, News, Moments, and Spaces. 

Learn more about notifications

Controlling your recommendations  

Controls are important in both helping you curate your own experience on Twitter and providing critical feedback for our recommendation systems. People who use Twitter have a variety of options when it comes to controlling what they do and don’t see on our service. As we build new features, we continue to look at ways to give you more control over your experience. Below, we highlight some of the controls available to you today. You can learn more about the range of controls available on Twitter here

 

Home and latest

When you click on the  icon in the top menu of your Home timeline, you can choose between viewing top Tweets, or latest Tweets first in your timeline. While top Tweets in Home will show you recommended Tweets, including Tweets from accounts and Topics you don't follow, latest Tweets will only show you Tweets from accounts you follow. The icon therefore allows you more control over your Home timeline experience and to easily switch between Home and latest timelines.  

Learn more about Home and latest.

Mutes and blocks

You have the option to mute Tweets that contain particular words, phrases, usernames, emojis, or hashtags. Muting only applies to your notifications and Home timeline. 

Muting an account allows you to remove an account's Tweets from your timeline without unfollowing or blocking that account. 

Blocking helps you control how you interact with other accounts on Twitter. Accounts you have blocked cannot follow you or see your Tweets, and you cannot follow an account you have blocked.  

Learn more about muting words, muting accounts, and blocking accounts.  

Reporting Tweets 

If you think an account or Tweet is in violation of the Twitter Rules or our Terms of Service, tell us about it by reporting the account or Tweet to us. Some of the violations you can report include: abuse, sensitive media, impersonation, and spam. Submitting a report takes just  a few steps and will help us make Twitter a better place for everyone. 

Learn more about reporting potential violations of the Twitter Rules and Terms of Service

Control the media you see in Tweets

Your Privacy and safety settings include Tweet media options, allowing you to decide whether you want to see a warning over media in Tweets that may contain sensitive content. Your settings default is to provide the warning, but you can change the setting at any time. 

Learn more about how to control the media you see in Tweets

Autoplay video settings 

You can stop videos from autoplaying in your timelines, Moments, and the Explore tab by changing the video autoplay setting. Your settings for video autoplay can be adjusted independently on twitter.com and your Twitter app (for example, you can set videos to autoplay on your iOS device and not on the web). 

Learn more about autoplay video settings

Notifications settings 

You can filter the notifications you receive by turning the Quality Filter on or utilizing the Advanced Filters to mute notifications from different accounts, such as accounts you don’t follow, new accounts, and accounts with a default profile picture. If you only want to receive specific notifications about your Tweet activity or from Twitter, you can select these preferences in the notifications settings.  

Learn more about notifications settings

Providing feedback on recommended content in Home 

You can provide feedback on recommendations you receive on Twitter. For Home timeline recommendations, you can provide feedback by selecting “Not interested in this Tweet” or “Not interested in this Topic”.  We use this as a signal to recommend less of that type of content to you.

Learn more about not interested in Topic suggestions.

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