The U.S. election was one of the most trending this November 2020. On the web, that may be all but over.
Social media networks are still struggling to fight misinformation that spreads all over their platforms. And Twitter, the microblogging platform, revealed that it is warning users if they try to like things that it considered to be misleading.
Previously, Twitter does this by applying labels to quote tweets. This according to Twitter, managed to reduce the spread of misleading information by 29%.
Happy with the results, this time, the company is taking it a bit further by warning users when they want to Like tweets that have misinformation too.
This approach won't necessarily have quite the same impact as preventing retweets of potentially false information, as it’s not at all uncommon to see misleading tweets with thousands of Likes.
But by adding a sense of validity to a tweet, Twitter here is like giving the power to the users themselves, giving them a choice if ever they want to be part of the misinformation spreaders themselves.
Giving context on why a labeled Tweet is misleading under our election, COVID-19, and synthetic and manipulated media rules is vital.
These prompts helped decrease Quote Tweets of misleading information by 29% so we're expanding them to show when you tap to like a labeled Tweet. pic.twitter.com/WTK164nMfZ
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) November 23, 2020
Misinformation is false information naively shared, while disinformation is incorrect information maliciously shared with the intent to deceive the audience.
And Twitter here, is labeling misinformation, as it asks users to "help keep Twitter a place for reliable info".
The microblogging platform said that it was "vital" to add additional context about why labelled tweets were misleading, whether those tweets were about the U.S. election or 'COVID-19' coronavirus, or anything in between.
In s statement, Twitter said that:
"These prompts helped decrease Quote Tweets of misleading information by 29 per cent so we're expanding them to show when you tap to like a labeled Tweet."
At the moment of announcement, Twitter prevents users to retweet messages that has received a label for including disputed messages.
Users can quote tweet those messages though, but requires them to provide additional context.
Twitter has added numerous other features in the past to simply add friction to the spread of misinformation.
For example, the company has added a feature to encourage users to read articles before sharing them, as well as changing its retweet button so that it defaults to a quote-tweet in order to give “people an extra moment to consider why and what they were adding to the conversation”, according to Twitter’s Kayvon Beykpour and Vijaya Gadde.
Although the time taken for Twitter to apply the labels will vary, considering the vast amount of information that spreads through Twitter, but the whenever they are available, the friction will certainly discourage a lot of people from becoming the spreaders of misinformation.
Further reading: Twitter Recruits Famous Hacker To Be Its Head Of Cybersecurity