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Twitter tries to curb conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 with warnings and hashtags

“These warnings inform people that the information in a tweet contradicts the guidance of public health experts before people see it,” the company says.

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Twitter tries to curb conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 with warnings and hashtags
Twitter tries to curb conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 with warnings and hashtags

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Twitter’s efforts to correct misinformation about the corona virus are causing the company to label tweets that contain incorrect data about the corona virus with labels and warning messages. pandemic.

The change is intended to give users “additional context” for conversations Twitter This is about the problem, which includes controversial or misleading claims, the director of public policy said on Monday. Nick Pickles.

In March, Twitter began removing tweets that contained incorrect information about coronaviruses. However, the directive only applies to publications where there is a risk of serious damage, e.g. B. the recommendation to take bleach for healing.

An example of a warning / picture: Twitter

Warning signs are placed on tweets by anyone who reveals controversial information about the tweets Covid-19, even if that means identifying people of Donald Trump’s stature. “These labels apply to anyone who shares misleading information that meets our policy requirements, including the world’s leading companies,” said the company’s Chief Integrity Officer. Yoel Roth.

The company is now trying to tackle heated Covid-19 debates that often point to conspiracy theories. The publications themselves can also raise doubts about the need to practice social distancing or to wear a mask. In response, Twitter plans to issue a warning message on tweets containing controversial coronavirus information that the company considers “serious”.

“These warnings will inform people that the data in a tweet contradicts the guidance of public health experts before they see it,” the company said in a blog post. Most importantly, the warning messages also cover the view tweet unless the user clicks on it.

An example of a tagged message. / Image: Twitter

In tweets that contain only misinformation about the corona virus that has been classified as “moderately” harmful, the company provides a link to a credible source under the “Know the facts about Covid-19” content.

How Twitter rates the damage depends on the immediacy and likelihood that someone who makes the coronavirus claim will pose a threat, the company told PCMag. For example, a tweet saying “Wearing a mask makes you sick” could easily be accepted and endanger people. A tweet that says “COVID comes from a laboratory in China” does not pose an immediate risk of causing damage.

The Twitter section when tagging messages. / Image: Twitter

Certain topics or conspiracy theories are marked with a warning sign or warning. But Twitter gave as an example PCMag Who will warn in tweets that “a flu shot can increase your susceptibility to Covid,” a rejection lawsuit that has spread across social media, particularly among those who have been vaccinated against.

Even so, Twitter says it won’t take any action on tweets that contain “unreviewed” Covid-19 claims. As a result, it may take some time for the company to respond to new discussions about corona viruses that sell misinformation appearing on the platform.

Twitter said it would rely on automated content moderation systems and “trusted partners” to identify problematic tweets. However, the most important question is whether the approach works. So far, the pandemic has shown that misinformation about the corona virus can quickly go viral on social media before it is removed. Last week, a video titled “Plandemic,” which said at one point that “wearing a mask literally activates the virus itself,” managed to garner millions of views on YouTube and Facebook before they were removed.

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