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Twitter acquires Slack-like company Quill to improve messaging tools

A Twitter logo is seen outside the company headquarters in San Francisco, California.   | Photo Credit: Reuters

Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it acquired Slack competitor Quill to help the social networking company improve its own messaging tools.

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The acquisition comes as Twitter recently named a new chief executive Parag Agrawal to replace co-founder Jack Dorsey, who stepped down from the top role last week. Agrawal, who had served as chief technology officer, is expected to bring a greater focus on engineering to the company.

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Slack, owned by Salesforce, has become a common online workplace messaging tool used by many companies. Quill emerged as a possible competitor for the messaging app this year.

The Quill team will help Twitter improve its direct messaging tool and make it a "more useful & expressive way people can have conversations on the service," said Nick Caldwell, Twitter's general manager for core technology, in a tweet on Tuesday.

Quill said in a blog post that its service will shut down as the team integrates into Twitter.

Overhaul of process to flag harmful tweets

The micro-blogging platform will begin overhauling how users report harmful tweets in an effort to make it easier for people to describe what is wrong with the content they are seeing, it said on Tuesday.

The move, which will begin with a small test of Twitter Web users in the U.S, comes amid widespread criticism that tech companies including Twitter, Meta Platforms Inc and Alphabet Inc's YouTube are doing too little to shield users from harmful or abusive content online.

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Instead of requiring users to report how a tweet violates Twitter's rules, which presumes knowledge of the company's policies, users will be asked whether they felt they have been attacked with hate, harassed or intimidated with violence or shown content related to self-harm, among other concerns.

Users will also be allowed to describe in their own words why they are flagging the content, Twitter said.

The process is akin to a doctor asking a patient about their symptoms and "where does it hurt?" rather than "is your leg broken?" the company said.

"In moments of urgency, people need to be heard and feel supported," Brian Waismeyer, a data scientist on Twitter's health user experience team, said in a statement.

Also Read | Twitter finds its algorithms amplify the political right

Twitter added that the new process will allow it to gather more granular information on tweets that do not explicitly violate its rules, but that users might nonetheless find problematic or upsetting, which will help the company update its policies in the future.

It is the latest of recent changes that Twitter has made to improve user safety. Last month, the company said it would begin prohibiting the sharing of "personal media" such as photos and videos without the consent of the person.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 6:02:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/technology/internet/twitter-acquires-slack-like-company-quill-to-improve-messaging-tools/article37892795.ece

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