What you need to know
- Twitter is testing a few tools to help combat misinformation on its platform.
- One version would highlight tweets that are false or misleading with bright orange banners and point users to rebuttals from fact checkers.
- The firm plans to roll these out on March 5th.
When it comes to Twitter and truth, the firm has attempted to sit on the fence as much as it can while doing its best to appease critics. To prevent itself from having to individually vet campaign ads, Twitter banned them from its platform entirely, for example.
Now, as reported by NBC News, the firm is tackling misinformation wholesale from a different angle. The firm plans to add brightly colored, eye-catching labels to identify lies and misinformation posted by politicians and public figures.
According to the NBC report, Twitter confirmed the plan and demo were showing off a possible iteration of its new misinformation policy. It may not look exactly like that, but the end result would be the same.
As per NBC:
In this version, disinformation or misleading information posted by public figures will be corrected directly beneath the tweet by fact-checkers and journalists who are verified on the platform, and possibly other users who will participate in a new "community reports" feature, which the demo claims is "like Wikipedia."
"We're exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter," a Twitter spokesperson said. "Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it."
Another tool Twitter is testing is a points based community system.
Twitter users could earn "points" and a "community badge" if they "contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbor" and "provide critical context to help people understand information they see."
The points system could prevent trolls or political ideologues from becoming moderators if they too often differ from the broader community in what they mark as false or misleading.
"Together, we act to help each other understand what's happening in the world, and protect each other from those who would drive us apart," the demo reads. [...] In the demo, community members are asked if the tweet is "likely" or "unlikely" to be "harmfully misleading." They are then asked to rate how many community members will answer the same as them on a sliding scale of 1 to 100, before elaborating on why the tweet is harmfully misleading.
"The more points you earn, the more your vote counts," the demo reads.
Twitter has been (not unfairly) critiqued as a hotbed of hoaxes, trolls, and misinformation over the past few years, and the company is well aware of the reputation that it has cultivated for itself. With this move, at the very least, it'll help claw back some trust in social media's ability to self regulate.