Twitter Tests Feature To Correct Fake Information

Ahead of the next primary and presidential elections, Twitter is testing a feature that would conspicuously correct false and misleading information tweeted by politicians and other public figures.

In a leaked demo first obtained by NBC News, the feature consists of a brightly-colored box directly below a politician’s tweet.

Under the headline “Harmfully Misleading,” the box includes the following warning: “Twitter Community reports have identified this tweet as violating the Community Policy on Harmfully Misleading Information. This tweet’s visibility will be reduced.”

Suggesting that Twitter is thinking beyond politics, another demo features a “Harmfully Misleading” box under a tweet about a coronavirus-related conspiracy theory.

A Twitter representative confirmed the test on Friday, adding it’s only one of many options the company is considering in its efforts to fight false and misleading tweets.

“We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter,” the spokesperson stated. “This is a design mock-up for one option.”

With the threat of regulation hanging over their heads, top social networks are racing to stem the tide of misleading information on their platforms.

Following the lead of Facebook and Pinterest, for example, Twitter recently partnered with the U.S. Census Bureau to reduce the spread of misinformation surrounding the upcoming 2020 Census.

Last year, Twitter unveiled an early draft of a new deepfake-fighting policy, which would allow the platform to place a notice next to tweets that share synthetic or manipulated media, as well as warn people before they share or like such tweets.

Also referred to as “shallowfakes,” deepfakes typically take the form of digital video or images, which feature someone’s face superimposed onto another person’s body. Thanks to advances in computer technology and artificial intelligence, the practice has become increasingly common and convincing.

Among other potential abuses, deepfakes can be used to harm someone’s reputation, mislead the public, and put people in the least flattering light.    

Late last year, Twitter also decided to stop running political ads altogether.

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