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Chris Moody from Twitter speaks at IBM InterConnect. (Via webcast)

LAS VEGAS — Twitter wants to do a better job of policing bullies who tweet, and Twitter vice-president of data strategy Chris Moody declared from the keynote stage at IBM’s InterConnect conference this week that it is using IBM Watson technology to help meet that challenge.

“We have had some abuse on the platform. We’ve talked very publicly in the in the last few months and said our number 1 priority is stop the abuse,” he said. “But it’s a very, very hard challenge.”

Twitter announced updates earlier this month to help reduce abusive content, by being more proactive in identifying those who use Twitter to harass others. The company explained the recent updates in a blog post that made clear how it could intervene earlier when it sees abuse.

“We’re working to identify accounts as they’re engaging in abusive behavior, even if this behavior hasn’t been reported to us. Then, we’re taking action by limiting certain account functionality for a set amount of time, such as allowing only their followers to see their Tweets,” the company explained in the post. “For example, this change could come into effect if an account is repeatedly Tweeting without solicitation at non-followers or engaging in patterns of abusive behavior that is in violation of the Twitter Rules.”

At IBM InterConnect, Moody discussed where Twitter goes next in fighting abuse. “We’re starting just now to partner with the Watson team. Watson is really good at understanding nuances in language and intention,” he said. “What we want to do is be able to identify abuse patterns early and stop this behavior before it starts.”

Not connected to his bullying comments, but as an observation at the beginning of his speech, Moody said people at the company are still sometimes surprised at the way Twitter is used, even though Twitter is now a full 11 years old, having reached that milestone on Tuesday.

“Many of you know the latest evolution (of Twitter) — the President of the United States is using the platform daily. He’s delivering, let’s call it a daily State of the Union, that’s the easiest way I can describe it,” he said, getting a big laugh from the Las Vegas crowd.

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