Twitter announces new labels for misleading COVID-19 posts

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Twitter has announced that posts containing disputed or misleading information about COVID-19 will be graced with a warning label to alert users to the potential dubiousness of the post. Labels will contain a link to a webpage that shows reliable information about coronavirus. If Twitter finds that a post is more harmful, it will apply a warning explaining that the Tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts.

According to the social media giant, if a user posts an unverified claim with a “propensity for harm” rating of moderate or severe, no action will be taken – though those rated severe may get a label in the future. Disputed claims that have a moderate harm rating will get a label while those with a severe harm rating will get a warning overlay which can be dismissed by users. Finally, misleading information with a moderate harm rating will be labelled, and misleading information with a severe rating will be removed entirely.

Warnings shown on misleading posts

Explaining how it’ll identify harmful posts, the firm said:

“Our teams are using and improving on internal systems to proactively monitor content related to COVID-19. These systems help ensure we’re not amplifying Tweets with these warnings or labels and detecting the high-visibility content quickly. Additionally, we’ll continue to rely on trusted partners to identify content that is likely to result in offline harm. Given the dynamic situation, we will prioritize review and labeling of content that could lead to increased exposure or transmission.”

While most people will still see these labels, Twitter does note that there’s a caveat. Posts that have been embedded elsewhere and Tweets that are being viewed by people not logged into Twitter may still appear without a label. Overall, though, the new measure will help to better inform many more people so that they’re not tricked into believing unsubstantiated information.

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