Twitter asks users to flag COVID-19 and election misinformation

Twitter launched a brand new take a look at function Tuesday that permits customers to report misinformation they run into on the platform, flagging it to the corporate as “deceptive.” The take a look at will roll out beginning right this moment to most customers within the U.S., Australia and South Korea.

Within the new take a look at, Twitter customers will have the ability to broaden the three dot contextual menu within the higher proper nook of a tweet to pick out “report tweet” the place they’ll be met with the brand new choice to flag a deceptive tweet. The subsequent menu provides customers a option to specify {that a} tweet is deceptive about “politics,” “well being” or “one thing else.” In the event that they choose politics, they’ll specify if the deceptive political tweet pertains to elections and in the event that they select well being they’ll flag a deceptive tweet about COVID-19 particularly.

Twitter has added a means for customers to report election-related misinformation earlier than, although beforehand these choices had been short-term options linked to international elections. Again in 2019, the platform rolled out the choice to report deceptive tweets about voting to assist safeguard elections in Europe and India.

The intention is to provide customers a option to floor tweets that violate Twitter’s current insurance policies round election and pandemic-related misinformation, two subjects it focuses coverage and enforcement efforts round. The person reporting system will work in tandem with Twitter’s proactive methods for figuring out doubtlessly harmful misinformation, which depend on a mixture of human and automatic moderation. For now, customers gained’t obtain any updates from the corporate on what occurs to deceptive tweets they report, although these updates might be added sooner or later.

Whereas the brand new reporting function might be out there very broadly, the corporate describes the take a look at as an “experiment,” not a completed function. Twitter will observe how folks on the platform use the brand new misinformation reporting instrument to see if person reporting may be an efficient instrument for figuring out doubtlessly dangerous deceptive tweets, although the corporate isn’t on a set timeline for when to totally implement or take away the take a look at function.

For now, Twitter doesn’t appear very anxious about customers abusing the function, because the new person reporting possibility will plug straight into its established moderation system. Nonetheless, the thought of customers pointing the corporate towards “deceptive” tweets is certain to spark new cries of censorship from corners of the platform already vulnerable to spreading misinformation.

Whereas the choice to flag tweets as deceptive is new, the function will feed reported tweets into Twitter’s current enforcement circulation, the place its established guidelines round well being and political misinformation are carried out via a mix of human and algorithmic moderation.

That course of can even kind reported tweets for overview based mostly on precedence. Tweets from customers with giant followings or tweets producing an unusually excessive degree of engagement will go to the entrance of the overview line, as will tweets that pertain to elections and COVID-19, Twitter’s two areas of emphasis with regards to policing misinformation.

The brand new take a look at is Twitter’s newest effort to lean extra by itself neighborhood to determine misinformation. Twitter’s most bold experiment alongside these strains is Birdwatch, a crowdsourced means for customers to append contextual notes and fact-checks to tweets that may be upvoted or downvoted, Reddit-style. For now, Birdwatch is just a pilot program, but it surely’s clear the corporate is concerned with decentralizing moderation — an experiment far thornier than simply including a brand new option to report tweets.

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