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Twitter announces new misinformation warning labels for tweets

Twitter logo. (Dreamstime/TNS)
May 19, 2022

The social media platform Twitter announced a new policy on Thursday that includes implementing special labels for tweets deemed “misinformation” in “periods of crisis.”

The announcement comes with the release of Twitter’s “crisis misinformation policy” which the company says is designed to “guide our efforts to elevate credible, authoritative information, and will help to ensure viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended by us during crises.”

Such crisis events include “situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters,” Twitter explained, adding that credible information is critical in such periods, and misleading info would harm vulnerable communities.

Twitter provided four examples of tweets to which they would apply the misinformation warning label:

  • False coverage or event reporting, or information that mischaracterizes conditions on the ground as a conflict evolves;
  • False allegations regarding use of force, incursions on territorial sovereignty, or around the use of weapons;
  • Demonstrably false or misleading allegations of war crimes or mass atrocities against specific populations;
  • False information regarding international community response, sanctions, defensive actions, or humanitarian operations.

In determining what constitutes misinformation, Twitter says it will require “verification from multiple credible, publicly available sources, including evidence from conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more.”

Twitter noted that the policy does not apply to “strong commentary, efforts to debunk or fact check, and personal anecdotes or first person accounts.”

Twitter shared a screenshot of what one warning label may look like – a resemblance to sensitive content warning labels that include an option for users to select to view the original tweet. The misinformation warning label – which Twitter said was for misinformation tweets related to Russia’s war in Ukraine – reads, “This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules on sharing false of misleading info that might bring harm to crisis-affected populations. However, to preserve this content for accountability purposes, Twitter has determined this Tweet should remain available.”

Twitter says that adding context via warning labels, preventing potentially harmful content from being amplified or recommended, and sometimes disabling user engagement with Tweets are all “effective ways to mitigate harm, while still preserving speech and records of critical global events.”

Twitter has come under fire for its left-wing bias and alleged censoring of right-wing content, a topic that has had renewed scrutiny under public criticism stemming from billionaire Elon Musk’s $44 billion proposed purchase of Twitter, as well as undercover videos by Project Veritas showing admissions of bias from Twitter employees.