Twitter will start labelling tweets containing potentially harmful and misleading information related to COVID-19, the company said on May 11. These labels will link to a Twitter-curated page or an “external trusted source” for more information on the claims made in a misleading tweet. This policy will apply retroactively to tweets made before May 11, Twitter said. We’ve reached out to Twitter for more details.
The new label is similar to the one that Twitter claims to apply on manipulated and synthetic media, and according to Yoel Roth, head of site integrity at Twitter, these labels will apply to anyone sharing misleading information, including world leaders. Here’s what the label looks like:
It is worth noting that Twitter will not fact check every piece of content on the platform because “public feedback shows that’s not what people want”, according to Ian Plumps from Twitter’s global policy communications team. “The goal is to provide context within the product,” according to Plumps. Twitter said that it will prioritise review and labelling of content that could lead to “increased exposure or transmission”.
Twitter “may” also apply a warning to tweets if the information in them conflicts guidance from public health experts. According to screenshots shared by Twitter, the warning will hide the tweet with a message from Twitter, and can be seen only when a user clicks on it. Here is what that warning looks like:
Twitter said it will only remove false COVID-19 related information that can potentially lead to “severe” harm. Last month Twitter had said it will remove unverified claims related to COVID-19 that have the “potential to incite people to action”, could lead to the “destruction or damage of critical infrastructure”, or cause “widespread panic/social unrest”. Here’s how the labelling and removal process will work:
This development comes after Facebook and YouTube removed a viral video that made unsubstantiated claims about the COVID-19 pandemic. The 26-minute long video called “Plandemic” reportedly made several misleading claims including suggesting that wearing a mask can make people sick. Twitter meanwhile, reportedly blocked users from using the hashtags #PlagueOfCorruption and #Plandemicmovie, but said that a shorter clip of the video circulating on the platform did not violate its community guidelines.