It seems like Twitter has been lately applying the best of brains behind it to tackle the menace of misinformation and misleading information. Often times, social media sites and platforms are the best spaces for lies and misquoted data and statistics to thrive. A spark has been created after a leaked demo video surfaced online where tweets by famous public figures could be seen accompanied by warning statements in vibrant color.
Twitter has been facing the problem of rapid misinformation due to the rapidly enhancing digital access to people across geographical boundaries. A single tweet by a popular person, which is seemingly accurate, can negatively shape public perception and affect how the general masses view a particular subject and agenda. It also has the power to legitimize or delegitimize events and topics and spark new debates and outcries within a span of a few seconds.
And this is primarily the reason why social media has been getting an increasing say in the way the general politics and policy decisions are formulated and presented. In keeping with the same, Twitter is doing rounds of experiments and conducting tests in which it adds colorful warning signs just under the lies and misquotation made by politicians or other public figures.
The leaked video was sent to NBC News, and that demo in the video acquired momentum from all sections of media in very little time. The warning signs are labels that are bright and are vividly shown being very prominent. These are placed just beneath the posts of public figures that are shown to be flagged by trusted scholars and journalists and other people of dignified stature, as per the demo that was leaked.
The fact that the social media company is investing in such an ambitious project speaks volumes about its seriousness to tackle an issue that has been plaguing the common public conscience for a few years now. The menace becomes extremely annoying during election and rallying times when every party and individual has something or the other to say at the cost of the essential fact-checking.
This, unfortunately, contributes towards rumor-mongering and spreading of lies on a large scale. The leaked video has underlined several features of the on-going project by the social media behemoth in which the video can be seen to claim that it would act much like Wikipedia in the way trust can be garnered. Apart from scholarly figures, other users can also participate in a new “community reports” feature as per the demo.
As can be seen in the video, there is a tweet related to n-Covid, which has been compared to be much like HIV, and the tweet claims that scientists in India have found insertions that point out that the virus was created. This has been labeled as harmfully misleading, and a tweet just beneath it rubbishes the said claim that it could be man-made.
Similarly, there are tweets made by Bernie Sanders, which had factually incorrect data on guns and by Kevin McCarthy on a topic related to whistleblowing. A bright yellow indication marks these misleading quotes made by public figures to be harmful and misleading. General users can also participate in the platform by clicking on the participate option just beneath the tweet.
The warning labels are prominent and big and are directly shown to the viewer. The demo shows the use of bright red and orange badges under those tweets that have been flagged to be harmfully misleading.
The label reads, “Twitter community reports have identified this tweet as violating the community policy on harmfully misleading info. This tweet’s visibility will be reduced.”Source
Just the previous month, Twitter had banned the use and spread of misleading media content like deep fakes, which are potentially disruptive and trouble making entities. Just as the 2020 election season is gradually heating to its climax, social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter are getting to play a pivotal role in much of the daily conversations, messages, and outreach efforts between the choosers and the choices and even among the candidates themselves.