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Twitter adds tweets warnings with misleading COVID-19 information

(Reuters) – Twitter will add labels and alerts to COVID-19 on some tweets with controversial or misleading information, the company said on Monday, as part of a new approach to misinformation that will eventually extend to other topics.

Twitter’s new labels include links to more information if the risk of tweet damage isn’t serious enough to be removed, but people could be confused or misled, Twitter said in a blog post.

The company said that depending on the propensity for damage and the nature of the misleading information in the tweet, warnings can also be added to say that the tweet contradicts the instructions given by public health experts before a user looks at it.

According to Twitter, these labels, which are similar to those introduced to identify synthetic and manipulated media, also apply to tweets sent before Twitter̵

7;s announcement and are used regardless of who sent the tweet.

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Social media sites like Facebook and YouTube, Alphabet’s Google’s video service, are under pressure to fight misinformation spread across their platforms about the COVID-19 pandemic caused by the new corona virus.

Such false claims ranged from incorrect healing methods to misinformation that linked the virus to conspiracy theories about high-profile personalities like the Microsoft co-founder who became philanthropist Bill Gates or 5G mobile phone technology.

The fact-checking partners of the social media giant Facebook, to which Reuters belongs, evaluate and debunk viral content on the website with labels. Last month, YouTube announced that it would also display information boards with third-party fact-checking articles for the U.S. video search results.

The Twitter labels link to a page curated by Twitter or an external trustworthy source with additional information.

“One of the differences in our approach is that we don’t wait for a third party to make a cast iron decision one way or another,” said Nick Pickles, director of public policy at Twitter.

“We are reflecting on the debate rather than reporting the outcome of a consultation,” he added.

Twitter said it would not take action against tweets whose information was not confirmed at the time of release, but it could place warnings or labels on controversial and misconfirmed claims.

In March, Twitter banned tweets that violate the health authorities’ COVID 19 guidelines. Yoel Roth, head of Twitter’s website integrity, said on Monday in a call to reporters that removing tweets would continue to take precedence over a call to action that could potentially do harm, e.g. B. asking people to end social distancing.

Roth said one example of tweets the company would now consider would be those that deny the origin or nature of the virus.

“We will continue to introduce new labels to provide context for different types of unreported claims and rumors, if necessary,” said Twitter.

It said it would use internal systems to proactively monitor tweets related to COVID-19 and rely on “trusted partners” such as NGOs and think tanks to identify content that could cause harm.

(Reporting by Elizabeth Culliford; Edited by Andrea Ricci)

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