In times of crisis, Twitter will hide misleading tweets

In times of crisis, Twitter will hide misleading tweets

Twitter is implementing a crisis misinformation policy to guarantee that it does not reinforce falsehoods during times of widespread turmoil, as part of its ongoing effort to combat misinformation about breaking news.

In times of crisis, Twitter will hide misleading tweets

Twitter began working on a crisis misinformation framework last year alongside human rights organizations, it says. This policy may come into effect under circumstances like public health emergencies or natural disasters, but to start, the platform will use these tactics to mitigate misinformation about international armed conflict — particularly, the ongoing Russian attack on Ukraine.

Twitter will demand verification from trustworthy, public sources, such as conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open source investigators, journalists, and others, to assess whether a tweet is false. If the platform determines that the tweet is deceptive, it will display a warning notice, disable likes, retweets, and shares, and provide a link to further information about the policy. These tweets will also be removed from the home page, search, and explore pages.

Notably, Twitter will “preserve this content for accountability purposes,” so it will remain online. Users will just have to click through the warning to view the tweet. In the past, some warnings about election or COVID-19 misinformation have simply been notices that appear in line beneath the tweet, rather than covering it up entirely.

Some examples of tweets that might be flagged under this policy include false on-the-ground event reporting, misleading allegations of war crimes, atrocities, or use of weapons and misinformation about international community response, sanctions, defensive operations and more. Personal anecdotes don’t fall under the policy, nor do people’s strong opinions, commentary or satire. Tweets that call attention to a false claim in order to refute it are allowed, too.

Twitter says it will prioritize adding warning notices to viral tweets or posts from high-profile accounts, which may include verified users, state-affiliated media and government accounts. This strategy makes a lot of sense, since a tweet from a prominent figure is more likely to go viral than a tweet from an ordinary person with 50 followers — but it’s a wonder that more platforms haven’t taken this approach already.

Twitter began working on a crisis misinformation framework last year alongside human rights organizations, it says. This policy may come into effect under circumstances like public health emergencies or natural disasters, but to start, the platform will use these tactics to mitigate misinformation about international armed conflict — particularly, the ongoing Russian attack on Ukraine.

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