As the next big American elections are months away, Twitter doesn’t want the level of misinformation that happened in 2016 go unchecked this year. That year was a really a defining moment in the fake news era and since then a whole of social media platforms have taken steps to stem the tide but somehow fake news and misleading information still finds its way to the internet.
Twitter is today taking a different approach by checking the problem at its core, Politicians. The microblogging site is testing a “harmfully misleading” label to tweets by politicians that may be seen as facts deficient.
These “misleading tweets” would going forward be labelled in a bright orange colour and is intended to encourage readers to try and do their own research on the subject. But if you don’t want to do this, Twitter will show under the orange label tweets from verified fact checkers and some credible journalists. It is being reported that a reported tweet may even be part of this new feature. Corrections may be come from its new crowdsourced “community reports” similar to what is seen on Wikipedia.
Speaking to NBC, Twitter said “We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter. Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it.”
NBC News reports that users could gain focuses and a “community badge” providing some more information to disprove misleading tweets. Members may then be asked to simply rate a tweet as “likely” or unlikely” to be misleading to the public. This somewhat point-based system will be used by Twitter to ask them a what percentage of community members they believe would answer the same way as them on a scale of 1 to 100 and the more accurate they are, the more their vote/view counts on these misleading tweets by politicians.
Looking at the example above, US Democratic Presidential aspirant Bernie Sanders who is a known advocate for gun control claims that forty percent of guns sold in America are done without background checks. These background checks have been said to be a major loop hole that allow even some mentally ill individuals to buy guns. Well the Bernie Sanders post was labelled in a bright orange colour but beneath are community members that have the green shield next to their names. They fact check and proffer corrections. They corrected the tweet and said the number is more like 22 percent.
Politicians the world over make claims and these claims sometimes have far reaching consequences on the lives of people particularly by influencing how they vote.