By: Nick Gambino
Twitter recently announced that they will start labeling tweets that carry misinformation on COVID-19. This will make it easy for users to easily identify false or misleading information regarding the novel coronavirus and lead them to a better source of information.
“In serving the public conversation, our goal is to make it easy to find credible information on Twitter and to limit the spread of potentially harmful and misleading content,” Yoel Roth and Nick Pickles said in a Twitter blog post. “Starting today, we’re introducing new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19.”
While some tweets may only see a label slapped on the bottom, offering a link to better info, others will contain a full-blown warning. The severity of the label depends entirely on how false the information is and what kind of harm it could cause if acted upon.
The warning states that “some or all of the content shared in this Tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19.” This hopefully also serves as a warning to the originator of the post that they should further vet the information they’re spreading.
This is an expansion of a feature that was added to the platform earlier this year in which labels would appear below a tweet with questionable information, providing a link to a more trusted source. This is also in line with the efforts many social media platforms are taking to stamp out the insidious spread of “bad info.”
It seems the more we embrace the social commentary aspect of the internet, the more false information pops up and the more gullible we are in listening to it. A safe rule of thumb when reading anything online is to take it with a grain of salt lest you get yourself in trouble.
The new labels won’t just appear on tweets going forward but are being added retroactively, so as to catch any egregious tweets sent out over the past few months. They will also appear across other websites where a possibly misleading tweet is embedded.