The menace of fake news on social media is a real deal. While platforms like Facebook and Twitter are struggling to contain the misinformation, sometimes the source of a wrong fact ends up being a politician or a well-known public figure. However, looks like the micro-blogging site Twitter is finally ready to do something about it.
According to a leaked demo of a new feature sent to NBC News, Twitter is testing coloured labels that will appear beneath tweets of politicians and other public figures that have misinformation or lies.
According to the report, the tweets with "harmfully misleading" content will be stamped with bright red and orange coloured labels of the same size as the tweet itself to warn users on the platform. Further beneath the warning, Twitter will showcase the correct information provided by verified fact-checkers and journalists, as well as by "community members" similar to Wikipedia.
Twitter community members
The report mentions that this is one of the many iterations Twitter is working on to counter misinformation on its platform. In one version of the demo, Twitter will supposedly give out "community badges" to the users if they "contribute in good faith" and act as good neighbours.
These users would also earn "points" for their work of providing "critical context to help people understand the information they see". The new "community reports" feature is expected to encourage users to report on the misinformation they see on the platform and help Twitter weed out misinformation.
"We're exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter. Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it," a Twitter spokesperson told NBC News.
How the features works
The demo shows an orange warning label beneath a tweet about US gun policy from US politician Bernie Sanders, medical misinformation about Coronavirus by a verified Twitter account, and a tweet by an unverified account posting a doctored video of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The red/orange card is labelled "Harmfully Misleading" and reads, "Twitter Community reports have identified this tweet as violating the Community Policy on Harmfully Misleading Information. The tweet's visibility will be reduced." We can also see tweets with corrections from community members with "community badges" under the harmful tweet.
As of now, there is no timeline on when the features will be available publicly. However, it looks like Twitter's effort is part of its preparation to fight the menace of fake news ahead of the 2020 US presidential election. Last month, Twitter had announced a policy to ban tweets that "deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm." Aside from banning the deep fakes, the platform also banned all political ads on its platform.