Twitter to add Labels & Warning Messages to Harmful and Misleading COVID-19 Info
Twitter, on Monday, announced it would start to add warning messages and labels to tweets circulating disputed or misleading information about COVID-19. The labels will direct users seeing these tweets to a Twitter-curated page or to external means that offer additional knowledge and context about the claims being given in the tweet. The warnings, meantime, will cover the tweet — needing an extra click to see the content.
According to the screenshots, Twitter issued, tweets sharing likely harmful, misleading information will be labeled with a link that reads, “Get the facts about COVID-19.” This link will be led by an icon of an exclamation point in a circle to attract the user’s concentration.
Twitter says some tweets may preferably be labeled with a warning message, based on the tweet’s “propensity for harm” and the kind of misleading information it performs. For example, people who are tweeting opinion that directly clashes with public health experts’ guidance may see their tweets labeled with a warning, not only an informational link.
In these instances, the tweet itself is covered up by a warning that reads: “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19. Learn more.”
Users can, however, opt to view these tweets by clicking the “View” button next to the warning.
The method of labeling tweets in this way is something Twitter had already incurred for labeling tweets comprising synthetic and manipulated media, like “deep fake” videos. Meanwhile, the company in March had extended its interpretation of harm to add content that directly opposes the guidance from authoritative experts of global and local health news.
That permitted it to remove content it deemed could risk people’s health and well-being as well as the capability to add the “public interest notice” to tweets posted by world heads that would otherwise have broken its COVID-19 guidelines.
However, Twitter’s use of labels and warnings with COVID-19 disinformation appears to have been more quickly rolled out, following the spread of a new conspiracy video about COVID-19. The video originates from a well-known vaccine conspiracist, dishonored scientist, and fired researcher-turned-book writer. Its high production values and tone of importance have easily influenced some of its validity, leading to its quick spread over social media.
On Friday, Twitter stated it would evaluate individual clips from the video to discover if they break its rules. It stated it would add a caution label to any tweets with links that point to the full video. Twitter also simplified that it’s not bringing down tweets with the links because many people are using them when opposing the content.
Today’s news shows that Twitter is formalizing its resolution around the viral video to add any other COVID-19 disinformation, as well.
Twitter didn’t enough detail how it defines how tweets are caught and labeled but shared a chart that shows how tweets get a label versus a warning or have no action needed.
“Our teams are applying and improving on internal systems to watch content related to COVID-19 proactively,” the company described in an announcement. “These systems help guarantee we’re not amplifying Tweets with these signs or labels and detecting the high-visibility content promptly. Additionally, we’ll proceed to rely on trusted associates to identify content that is possible to result in offline harm. Given the compelling situation, we will prioritize analysis and labeling of content that could point to increased exposure or transmission,” said Twitter.
The system may also emerge with new labels being added, Twitter wrote.