Twitter recently announced its new “crisis misinformation policy” which will seek to suppress posts the company deems “viral misinformation.” The update will allow Twitter employees to label, and censor posts they determine to be misleading or false. The company claimed that the new tools will only be used in the case of a “humanitarian crisis.”
“Today, we’re introducing our crisis misinformation policy – a global policy that will guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises,” Twitter wrote in a blog post Thursday. “In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities.”
Twitter went on to define such crises as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”“This definition is consistent with the United Nations’ definition of a humanitarian crisis and other humanitarian assessments,” the company added.Hoax tweets and other misinformation regularly go viral during emergencies, as users rush to share unverified information. The sheer speed of events makes it difficult to implement normal verification or fact-checking systems, creating a significant challenge for moderators.
As part of its new “misinformation policy”, Twitter will employ a variety of tools, including the removal tweets from recommendations and disabling engagement on “misleading” posts. In addition to a label, users will not be able to like, retweet or reply to flagged tweets.“To reduce potential harm, as soon as we have evidence that a claim may be misleading, we won’t amplify or recommend content that is covered by this policy across Twitter – including in the Home timeline, Search, and Explore,” Twitter explained.
“In addition, we will prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified, official government accounts.”Under the new policy, tweets classified as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or banned; instead, Twitter will add a warning label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the existing labels for explicit imagery).
The tweets will also be blocked from algorithmic promotion.The stronger standards are meant to be limited to specific events. Twitter will initially apply the policy to content concerning the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the company expects to apply the rules to all emerging crises going forward.
For the purposes of the policy, crisis is defined as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”The policy comes at a delicate time for Twitter, with the company’s approved sale to Elon Musk in a confusing limbo.
Musk has pledged to scale back moderation systems at the company in favor of a maximalist view of free speech. But with Musk claiming the deal is on hold pending a bot investigation, it’s unclear when or how his ideas will be implemented.The social media giant infamously flagged the New York Post’s bombshell Hunter Biden laptop story just weeks before the election.In order to suppress the story — which included emails, text messages, photos and financial documents detailing foreign business dealings of the Biden family — Twitter cited its “hacked materials” policy. This policy, like many sections of Twitter’s terms of service, has been applied selectively on numerous occasions.
In a recent example, an illegally obtained list of donations to Canada’s Freedom Convoy protesters was allowed to be freely shared on the platform. The list included names, addresses and phone numbers of anyone who donated as little as $25 to the protest movement. Despite the fact that the information was obtained through a hack, Twitter took no action.Many believe Twitter’s “crisis misinformation policy” will be yet another policy that is selectively applied to conservatives.
This would give the San Francisco-based platform even more power to meddle in election outcomes, as they did in 2020. A poll conducted by The Post Millennial this past March found that 16% of Biden voters would not have voted for him if they were aware of the laptop scandal.
Source: Twitter Will Add Warning Label to Tweets it Deems ‘Viral Misinformation’
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