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Twitter is working on new feature to flag fake news shared by ‘politicians, public figures’

The new feature will have red and orange badges for tweets considered ‘harmfully misleading’. Misleading information will also be corrected by verified fact-checkers.

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New Delhi: Twitter is considering to add brightly-coloured warning labels under posts, mostly by politicians and public figures, which spread misinformation and lies.

According to a report by NBC News, a leaked demo suggests that misleading information will directly be corrected by fact-checkers and journalists who are verified on the platform.

The leaked Twitter demo
The leaked Twitter demo | NBC News

The demo used author and consulting editor of Swarajya magazine Anand Ranganathan’s tweet as an example of posts spreading fake news.

Ranganathan’s tweet had quoted a study that proposed that the Chinese coronavirus “was designed (not fortuitous)”.

Other examples of fake news mentioned in the demo were a tweet by Senator Bernie Sanders on gun background checks and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s tweet on whistle-blowers.

Users can help regulate Twitter

According to the NBC report, users can also participate in this new “community reports” feature, which is “like Wikipedia”.

“Some other websites have successfully used community moderation to regulate their platforms. Information on Wikipedia has been moderated by anonymous users since its inception in 2001,” said the report.

Although the micro-blogging site has confirmed that they are exploring ways to fight misinformation, they didn’t reveal an official date to roll out these features. 

“We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more contact for tweets on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson said, adding that “misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it”. 

Also read: Do cats like girls more? Chinese study divides Twitter, gets taken down

Red, orange badges for misleading tweets

The new feature will have red and orange badges for tweets considered “harmfully misleading”. These badges will be placed right below the misleading tweet and will be the same size of the tweet itself. This is to alert the users for fake news. 

The demo also proposed that users could earn “points” and a “community badge” if they “contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbour” and “provide critical context to help people understand information they see”, according to the NBC report.

The move comes at a time when the US Presidential election season is around the corner.

Twitter has emerged as a medium that is central to election campaigning.

The recently concluded Delhi assembly elections also saw public figures and political parties peddling fake news on Twitter. 

The move was hailed by the Twiterrati — with some saying the micro-blogging site is finally “waking up from slumber”. 

Also read: Twitter is promoting child abuse under new policy, alleges Australia-based professor


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