Now, Twitter will flag COVID-19 rumors with warnings, labels
After launching a way to let users rethink and change their 'mean responses', Twitter is moving to combat the problem of fake news related to the novel coronavirus pandemic. The company has announced a feature that flags misinformation about the disease with warnings and labels while providing direct access to credible information and facts. Here's all you need to know about it.
Ever since COVID-19 started spreading, a wave of misinformation and rumors related to the disease has hit social media and messaging platforms. The false claims - revolving around the spread, prevention, and treatment of the infection - have misled people into following vague and potentially harmful practices such as applying bleach on their whole body and holding their breath for several minutes.
To tackle this problem, Twitter expanded its Safety policy in March and began removing tweets that went against the guidance from public health experts and increased the risk of community spread of the infection. Now, building on the same effort, the microblogging service is showing labels and warning messages to provide "additional context and information" on tweets containing disputed/misleading information related to COVID-19.
Whenever someone shares something misleading or disputed on COVID-19, Twitter will display a warning/label on top of it or remove the tweet entirely. The action, the company says, will be taken according to the harm potential of the post. So, if the tweet is false and has a 'severe' impact, it will be removed. Otherwise, it will be treated with a label or warning.
As Twitter explained, the labels would show in cases of misleading or disputed claims with a moderate propensity for harm, while the warning would appear for disputed claims with a severe propensity.
Notably, the labels will appear at the bottom of the tweets, while warnings will cover the entire post with a message telling the user that some of its contents are in conflict with expert guidance on COVID-19. Both labels and warnings will also include links to a "Twitter-curated page or external trusted source containing additional information on the claims made within the tweet."
With these changes, Twitter hopes to flag misinformation around COVID-19 more clearly and provide people access to credible resources in no time. The company says it is also working on labels that would provide context around unverified claims and rumors, but as of now, there is no word on when that capability would be released publicly.