The popular social website Twitter announced that it would start alerting users when any tweet makes misleading claims about the novel coronavirus. The new rule is the newest in an array of stricter policies that tech companies are implementing to defy an outbreak of virus-related misinformation on their particular sites. Facebook, YouTube and Google have already put similar restrictions in place.
The announcement indicates that Twitter is exerting its role in amplifying misinformation on a more serious note. But how Twitter implements its new policy will be the real test, with company heads already tamping down expectations.
Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity, stated that “We will not be able to take enforcement action on every tweet with incomplete or disputed information about Covid-19.” Roth previously told that Twitter has historically applied a “lighter touch” when executing similar policies on misguided tweets but intended that the company is working to enhance the technology around the labels.
In February this year, the platform said it would attach warning labels to manipulated photos and videos after a recording of Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was slowed down to make it look like as though she mumbled her words. But even with certainly fake videos, like one showing Joe Biden lolling his tongue and grinning that was shared by US President Donald Trump, Twitter has since used the label only two times, in part because of technical glitches.
Also, the platform has not added any warning labels to politicians’ tweets that infringe its policies but are considered in the “public interest” under a policy of the company. However, under the latest Covid-19 rules, Twitter will determine which tweets are labelled only taking down posts if they would perceive to be harmful.