Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) is finally testing a new feature that will allow users to report misleading tweets. Using this feature, users can report or flag tweets that spread misinformation related to Covid-19 or fake news related to elections. Twitter said the feature is only available to some users in the US, South Korea, and Australia were it was first tested.
Twitter, like Facebook and YouTube, is regularly criticised by critics who say it’s not doing enough to combat the spread of misinformation.
But the platform doesn’t have the resources of its Silicon Valley neighbours and so often relies on experimental techniques that are less costly than recruiting armies of moderators.
Such efforts have intensified as Twitter tightened its rules on disinformation during the Covid-19 pandemic and during the U.S. presidential election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden.
Talking about the feature, Twitter said, “We’re testing a feature for you to report Tweets that seem misleading – as you see them. Starting today, some people in the US, South Korea, and Australia will find the option to flag a Tweet as “It’s misleading” after clicking on Report Tweet.”
“We’re assessing if this is an effective approach so we’re starting small. We may not take action on and cannot respond to each report in the experiment, but your input will help us identify trends so that we can improve the speed and scale of our broader misinformation work,” it added.
The initial trial added another category you can report tweets under by clicking the three dots in the top right corner of a tweet, select “Report Tweet,” and the option to flag it for being “misleading” is there right between the existing options “It’s abusive or harmful” and “It expresses intentions of self-harm or suicide
Since the initial announcement, Twitter says it has received around 3 million reports from users who have used it to flag tweets they believe violate its policies.
Last year, the social media giant launched another program called Birdwatch, which allows members to write notes and provide additional context to misleading tweets, though those notes are stored on a separate website.
Companies like Facebook and Twitter are constantly working to improve their algorithms to avoid amplifying false information or misinformation.