As part of its continuing efforts to weed out fake news and misinformation from its platform, Twitter on Monday said that it has started warning users about tweets containing disputed or false information about COVID-19. In an official blog post, the company said that it is now adding labels and warning messages “that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19”.
Twitter had earlier broadened its policies to warn users against coronavirus-related content that went directly against advice from authoritative medical organizations like the WHO, and is now expanding that program to use those same warnings and labels to provide additional clarifications for tweets that may be relatively less dangerous in nature, but might still confuse or mislead people, either intentionally or otherwise.
The labels appearing on tweets containing harmful and misleading information on the coronavirus will be similar to the labels the company introduced earlier this year to mark tweets with Deepfake content. According to Twitter, not only will the labels inform people that the information in the tweet is in direct conflict with guidance from public health experts, but the misleading tweets may also come with warnings depending on the propensity for harm and type of misleading information.
The announcement suggests that much like other social networking platforms that have also been besieged by a flurry of fake news and conspiracy theories regarding the pandemic, Twitter is seriously trying to cut down on false information at this hour of crisis. While the latest announcement is certainly a step in the right direction, it will be interesting to see how this will help in reducing the the number of fake news and crazy conspiracy theories circulating on the platform.