Misinformation is a problem for all consumer-facing tech platforms, including social media and news aggregators. However, it is worst on Twitter and Facebook because these two platforms are the easiest to manipulate with fake news. To combat the issue, Twitter is now adopting an official “Crisis Misinformation” policy.
According to the company, the policy will directly combat misinformation and fake news campaigns during “situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters”.
While plenty of legitimate news is available on Twitter, there is no gate-keeping. In other words, anybody can use the micro-blogging platform to say mostly what they want. If that information is false and enough people read it, the details quickly spread as a pseudo truth.
If it were just individuals engaging in fake news, the problem would be ignorable. However, organizations and news outlets are also spreading misinformation, whether intentionally or not. Twitter hopes the new Crisis Misinformation policy will help to reduce the spread of fake news during times of crisis.
The company says crises are “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.” This matches the definition given by the United Nations for classifying crises.
So, how will Twitter decide if the information is incorrect? Well, the company will lean on “verification from multiple credible, publicly available sources, including evidence from conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more.”
Twitter is rolling the policy out globally to “help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended” during times of crisis. When an offending tweet is found, the network will label or hide it. Twitter says it will not remove tweets, but merely inform users about their credibility.
“In addition, we will prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified official government accounts,” adds Twitter.
Tip of the day: Windows Update downloads can often be frustrating because they are several gigabytes in size and can slow down your internet connection. That means your device may work with reduced performance while the update is downloading. In our guide we show you how to limit bandwidth for Windows Update downloads, so they won’t bother you again.