Too many fake COVID-19 claims on Twitter? The micro-blogging site is trying to fight misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic shared on the site. On Monday, the social media giant announced that it will start alerting users when a tweet makes disputed or misleading claims about the coronavirus.
Yesterday, @TwitterSupport tweeted: “The information you see on Twitter should be accurate and reliable. That's why we're expanding our use of Tweet labels and warnings to address misleading information.”
The new move is the latest in a wave of stricter policies that tech companies are rolling out to confront the outbreak of virus-related misinformation on their sites.
Many tweeps shared news reports while asking how Twitter will decide what to label and what not to.
Twitter has explained in a blog post, that it will take a case-by-case approach to how it decides which tweets are labelled and will only remove posts that are harmful.
While some tweets will run with a label underneath that directs users to a link with additional information about Covid-19. Other tweets might be covered entirely by a warning label alerting users that "some or all of the content shared in this tweet conflict with guidance from public health experts regarding Covid-19."
The warning labels might direct users to curated tweets, public health websites or news articles.
The new labels will be available in roughly 40 languages and should begin appearing on tweets as soon as today. The warning could apply retroactively to past tweets.
According to Nick Pickles, Twitter’s global senior strategist for public policy: “Twitter won't directly fact check or call tweets false on the site.”
"People don't want us to play the role of deciding for them what's true and what's not true but they do want people to play a much stronger role providing context," he said.
- COVID 19 misinformation: Fake cures and risky rumours take a heavy toll
- COVID-19 shows how dangerous misinformation becomes contagious
- COVID-19: WhatsApp to impose new limit on forwarding to fight fake news
- Coronavirus: Myth vs. Fact
- Department of Health Abu Dhabi urges public not to spread rumours and tackles misinformation
Other tech companies have also taken steps to curb misinformation on social media. Last month, Facebook also began alerting users who interacted with coronavirus misinformation by directing them to the World Health Organization's fact page. Google, which owns YouTube, has also put similar systems in place.
Meanwhile, Twitter will continue to take down COVID-19 tweets that pose a threat to the safety of a person or group, along with attempts to incite mass violence or widespread civil unrest.
The company has already been removing bogus coronavirus cures and claims that social distancing or face masks do not curb the virus' spread.
This is not the first time Twitter is using labels. In February, Twitter had announces a similar initiative to label doctored or manipulated photos or images on its site after a video of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slowed down to make it appear as if she slurred her words.
Since then, Twitter has only applied the label twice to manipulated media.