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Twitter Beta Testing Aims to Make Service Nicer

Twitter may have some new tricks up its sleeve.

Credit: Shutterstock

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The social network plans to offer new features to a "test group" of users in the coming weeks, according to Engadget, which spoke to a Twitter executive. Twitter wants to see whether it can cut down on hate speech and make the service more appealing.

Those in the test group, which anyone can apply to join, will find presence indicators to tell them when specific other users are online. Twitter may also continue to test the "ice breaker" discussion-starting tweets and the status updates it experimented with last year.

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The increasing political polarization on Twitter has meant an ongoing battle with people who are too negative, too unwilling to listen to other opinions and ultimately unfriendly. For Twitter, it's meant trying to figure out how to improve interactions on the site and make for a more positive experience without sacrificing its existing functionality.

Engadget says Twitter will let people who want to participate in the test group sign up. But not everyone who applies will be accepted, and some testers may be able to view only certain features instead of all of them. Testers will be asked to discuss the new features with their followers, giving Twitter the opportunity to evaluate what they're saying and how their followers are responding.

Of course, some of these experimental features might never find their way to every user. But it's a chance for Twitter to see whether new features can create new opportunities for positive interaction on the social network.

Don Reisinger is a communications strategist, consultant, and copywriter who has also written for many leading technology and business publications including CNET, Fortune Magazine and The New York Times, as well as Tom's Guide.