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Twitter Updates Approach to Minimizing Spread of Coronavirus Misinformation


A chart from Twitter shows how the company will act on different types of tweets with disputed or misleading information related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in this handout photo obtained May 11, 2020.

To better provide the public with credible information, Twitter announced Monday its new labels and warning messages meant to notify users of misleading information about the coronavirus.

Twitter’s new policy and format builds on one released in March that addressed coronavirus content that went against reliable public health sources’ guidance about the pandemic. In addition, in early 2020, Twitter released labels flagging tweets promoting tainted or falsified media.

Currently, the platform’s updated policy delves further into this issue by providing clarifications and supplementary explanations to a tweet’s statement and its source.

Labels, much like ones already implemented, will appear in the form of links to redirect users to more reliable sources. The other label hides the post with the message: “Some or all of the content shared in this tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19” to alert users of potentially deceptive information.

Twitter said it will continue removing posts threatening the safety of individuals and groups, including conspiracy theories about the virus, false cures, and comments minimizing the importance of social distancing.

Other media

Twitter is not the only social media platform to begin combating posts spreading misinformation about the coronavirus. Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers — including The Associated Press and Reuters — review and remove outwardly false statements posted to the site.

Last month, YouTube said it would start providing information panels that include fact-checked articles for video search results in the United States.

“One of the differences in our approach here is that we’re not waiting for a third party to have made a cast-iron decision one way or another,” Nick Pickles, Twitter’s public policy senior strategist, said on technology website VentureBeat.

Twitter said its ultimate goal is to monitor coronavirus media by reviewing and labeling possibly harmful content and containing its effect.

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