Tech Update Twitter to Take Action: COVID-19 Misinformation By Elinsys, 15th May 2020

As the pandemic keeps taking over the world, it continues to fuel conspiracy theories and fake news. Especially true for the portals with user generated content such as Twitter, Facebook etc. There have been posts going around for miracle cures and micro-chipped vaccines and many others. While some of these tweets have been benign, others have the potential to cause real harm if they spread fast.

Twitter announced that it will begin taking action against the COVID19 misinformation with a new labeling system. It will apply labels on tweets sharing disputed or misleading information and may delete them in severe cases. Twitter’s Site Integrity and Public Policy team head made the announcement:

In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content. Starting today, we’re introducing new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19.

During active conversations about disputed issues, it can be helpful to see additional context from trusted sources. Earlier this year, we introduced a new label for Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media. Similar labels will now appear on Tweets containing potentially harmful, misleading information related to COVID-19. This will also apply to Tweets sent before today.

These labels will link to a Twitter-curated page or external trusted source containing additional information on the claims made within the Tweet.

Depending on the propensity for harm and type of misleading information, warnings may also be applied to a Tweet. These warnings will inform people that the information in the Tweet conflicts with public health experts’ guidance before they view it.

Twitter isn’t the only platform taking action against misleading information in the recent weeks. YouTube expanded its fact checks, WhatsApp limited the amount of forwards and all the social media platforms are doing their best to curb the spread of COVID19 hoaxes.

Misinformation always springs up – under circumstances like these, and it’s for the platform owners to determine what’s acceptable and what’s not. Responsible information sharing is the ownership of citizens – but moderating the user generated content is among the priorities of responsible social media platforms.

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