Saturday, 30 May 2020

Twitter to label misleading tweets

by Harry Baldock, Total Telecom
Tuesday 12 May 20

The social media platform has been struggling to find the balance when it comes to protecting its users from misinformation without infringing on their civil liberties

Social media is a breeding ground for misinformation, but when it comes to the coronavirus such messages could literally be the difference between life and death.    Since the outbreak, social media platforms like Facebook…

Social media is a breeding ground for misinformation, but when it comes to the coronavirus such messages could literally be the difference between life and death. 
 
Since the outbreak, social media platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have all been struggling to strike the right balance between protecting their users from “harmful, misleading information”, while also not being accused of censorship.
 
Last month, Twitter chose to censor tweets promoting vandalism against 5G infrastructure.
 
Now, in its latest announcement Twitter has decided to follow Facebook and YouTube’s lead and begin label tweets that could be misleading, saving deletion for only the most severe offences.
 
“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,” read the announcement. 
 
In cases in which the tweet directly advocates for something harmful, a warning message will be displayed, explaining that the tweet contains information contrary to public health experts’ guidance. Links will be provided to correct information.
 
Historical tweets will also be retrospectively labelled in this way.
 
Of course, there is an inherent issue around what constitutes scientific fact, especially since our understanding of the coronavirus itself is still developing. That said, it seems wrestling with that issue is preferable to having to walk the line with their censorship policy. 
 
 
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