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Twitter tests manipulated media policy on ‘harmfully misleading’ tweets

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Jenna Delport
Jenna Delport
I’m a tech writer, world traveller, avocado-eater and dog lover, not always in that order.

Twitter is playing with the idea of labelling tweets from public figures, including politicians, that contain misinformation or misleading content, according to leaked demos from NBC News.

The demos show how misleading or untrue tweets are highlighted with an orange label which includes Twitter’s policy guidelines as well as accurate information from trusted sources like fact-checkers and journalists.

Here’s a closer look at what the labelling system would look like:

Image sourced from The Verge.

The labelling system is still in its infancy, its a “design mockup for one option that would involve community feedback. Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it,” according to a spokesperson from Twitter via The Verge.

Twitter’s anti-misinformation effort

Keeping a close eye on potentially harmful tweets is not the only way Twitter plans on creating a safer platform for conversation. The social media giant announced last month that it would be labelling doctored media as well.

In an official statement from the company, writers Yoel Roth and Ashita Achuthan say that users will no longer be able to share manipulated media that is likely to hurt other users. Starting from 5 March 2020, doctored posts will be accompanied by a label indicating the validity of the content.

The statement reads, “You may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context”.

Here’s how Twitter aims to grade posts

In order to determine whether a post could potentially cause harm, Twitter says it will compare the content against these criteria:

  • Are the media synthetic or manipulated?
  • Are the media shared in a deceptive manner?
  • Is the content likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm?

“Our goal in making these assessments is to understand whether someone on Twitter who is just scrolling through their timeline has enough information to understand whether the media being shared in a tweet is or isn’t what it claims to be,” said Roth.

Twitter, a safer platform for conversation

Tweets that are deemed deceptive will be labelled “manipulated media” starting from Thursday, 5 March 2020. Users will be able to then tap on the label which will then lead them to reputable sources containing undoctored information.

Twitter says that “this will be a challenge and we will make errors along the way — we appreciate the patience. However, we’re committed to doing this right. Updating our rules in public and with democratic participation will continue to be core to our approach”.

Edited by Jenna Delport
Follow Jenna Delport on Twitter

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