Twitter is rolling out a new ‘crisis misinformation’ policy designed to tackle “situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s Head of Safety & Integrity wrote in a blog post. The new policy announcement comes even as Twitter is engaged in an acquisition deal with Tesla boss Elon Musk, who has made his views on ‘content moderation’ known via various tweets and posts. Musk has also insisted that the deal with Twitter cannot go ahead till the platform confirms the number of bots or fake users; Twitter pegs the number at 5 percent, a claim that Musk is not buying.
Twitter’s crisis misinformation policy will be a global one aimed at ensuring that “viral misinformation isn’t amplified or recommended” by the platform during crises such as wars.
Twitter says it will prioritize adding warning notices to viral tweets
Twitter says it will prioritize adding warning notices to viral tweets or posts from high-profile accounts, which may include verified users, state-affiliated media, and government accounts. This strategy makes a lot of sense since a tweet from a prominent figure is more likely to go viral than a tweet from an ordinary person with 50 followers — but it’s a wonder that more platforms haven’t taken this approach already.
The platform will stop amplifying or promoting content about crises as soon as it has evidence that a claim may be misleading.
Tweets that violate the new policy will have an interstitial warning placed on them but not immediately removed.
“In times of crisis, misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, wrote in a blog post.
Twitter began working on a crisis misinformation framework last year
“Alongside our existing work to make reliable information more accessible during crisis events, this new approach will help to slow the spread by us of the most visible, misleading content, particularly that which could lead to severe harms.”
The new policy defines crises as situations where there is a “widespread threat to life. Physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”
The policy is first being applied to the ongoing war in Ukraine. But will be applied to other crises as well moving forward.