Adidas is partnering with Twitter to stream high school football games

Twitter and Adidas are partnering to launch a new series called “Friday Night Stripes,” an eight-game series of high school football games that will stream live on the social media platform.

“Nationally ranked teams” from California, Nevada, Indiana, Georgia, and Florida will be part of the series, and will start on September 7th and will finish on November 9th. TechCrunch notes that NFL games have been popular on the site, and that this is the first time that high school games will be streamed in this fashion. The games will be available on @adidasFballUS on both mobile and desktop devices, and will be accompanied by a Twitter timeline with additional coverage and tweets.

The first game will be between Cedar Grove of Ellenwood, GA and McEachern of Powder Springs, GA on September 7th. The following games feature Indianapolis, Indiana high schools Ben Davis vs. Warren Central on September 14th, Marietta (Marietta, Georgia) vs. McEachern on October 12th, and Doral vs. Chaminade in Florida on October 18th. Additional games will be announced.

The games will be accompanied by play-by-play commentary from Courtney Lyle of ESPN and SEC Network, along with analysis from Green Bay Packers player A.J. Hawk, and YouTuber Cameron “Scooter” Magruder. Adidas says that other guests will make appearances throughout the season. Last year, the NFL signed a deal with Twitter for a package that will feature a 30-minute show and highlights.

A bunch of Tweetbot features no longer work in preparation for the Twitter API change

Twitter is planning to roll out changes to its API tomorrow, and it’s already having effects on Tweetbot. Tapbots updated Tweetbot for iOS today and with it came the removal of timeline streaming on Wi-Fi; push notifications for likes, retweets, follows, and quotes; the activity and stats tab; and the Apple Watch app. Meanwhile, push notifications for mentions or DMs will be delayed by a few minutes, and timelines will refresh automatically every one to two minutes instead of streaming on Wi-Fi.

None of these changes fundamentally ruin Tweetbot, but they certainly make the app less useful. When Tweetbot 3 launched on the Mac in May, the company said it had planned for these API changes and that they wouldn’t result in a substantial downgrade. The single biggest loss, really, is the Apple Watch app no longer being available, which is definitely a bummer if you use it. Tweetbot says it had to take it down because it relied heavily on Activity data. All third-party apps will be affected by similar changes starting tomorrow, so even if you don’t use Tweetbot, you aren’t spared.

Twitter is funding college professors to audit its platform for toxicity

Twitter has been working to combat spam and abuse on its platform for a while now, but there are still plenty of instances of toxicity on the network. In its next step to clean up the service, Twitter has enlisted experts from universities to conduct an audit of its platform to figure out where the echo chambers and “uncivil discourse” are originating from.

Back in March, Twitter put out a call for experts to measure how toxic its platform was and suggest ways to improve it. It said finalists would be chosen in July. Twitter now says there were over 230 proposals, and of those, the winners include two professors from New York’s Syracuse University, one from Italy’s Bocconi University, a professor from a college that specializes in tech in the Netherlands, Delft University, and others.

The team of researchers will be led by Dr. Rebekah Tromble, an assistant professor at Leiden University in the Netherlands who focuses on politics in social media. They will investigate how toxic speech is created on Twitter. The idea that the researchers are working off of is from previous Leiden research, which found that when a group of like-minded people gathers to discuss similar perspectives, they’re encouraged to hate those not engaged in the same discussion, thus creating an echo chamber. The researchers will see how many users exist in these echo chambers and how many users are actually talking to others with diverse perspectives.

The team will also create algorithms to track whether conversations on Twitter are “uncivil” or if they veer into “intolerant” in what could be hate speech. Uncivil conversations can sometimes be problematic, but they’re also good for political dialogue, while hate speech is “inherently threatening to democracy,” according to Twitter. The implication is that once the researchers successfully identify the differences between these two kinds of conversations, Twitter will become better equipped to target hate speech, while keeping uncivil discourse in check.

A second, smaller team formed by professors at the University of Oxford and the University of Amsterdam will similarly work off of the idea that echo chambers can’t be formed when people are exposed to a variety of ideas and perspectives and that diversity breeds open-mindedness. They will study whether the effects of positive online interaction can be carried across to the offline world.

There’s no timeline on when the research will reach fruition, and Twitter has stated that the teams are undertaking “a very ambitious task.”