Social media has recently witnessed a surge in misinformation about a lot of things. Be it climate change, presidential election, or coronavirus pandemic, misinformation continues to spread like never before. There are people who are increasingly demanding that the social media platform crackdown on misinformation. Several efforts are being made by these platforms to tackle this problem. In a bid to do this, Twitter had signed a deal with news agencies The Associated Press (AP) and Reuters. This partnership will help the microblogging site to expand its efforts of providing more reliable and credible information on its platform. This will also help the company in fighting the spread of misinformation, the company said. With this deal, the curation team of the microblogging site would be able to add more information to the news and trends on its platform by leveraging the expertise of the partnered news organizations. It will also be the platform to label misinformation during high-visibility events. At the moment, the curation team of Twitter is adding more information only to contents related to Top Trends and to news on Explore tab. The team is also working to ensure that content from high-quality searches is showed when searched with keywords or hashtags on Twitter search.
The team is also looking into the prompts that are visible under the Explore tab on the Home Timeline. These prompts are related to major events like elections or a public health emergency – such as the coronavirus pandemic. Twitter will monitor them and label them as misinformation in cases they are found to violate its rules. However, the curation team will operate separately from the company’s Trust and Safety team. The core responsibility of the Trust and Safety team of Twitter is to determine whether a tweet has violated the company’s guidelines and what punitive action needs to be taken against the handle tweeting it. The punitive action may include the removal of just the tweet or even a ban on the handle. The microblogging site has also confirmed that none of the news agencies will be part of the team that is responsible for making those sorts of enforcement decisions. Twitter said that the partnership with Associated Press and Reuters will help them add information more swiftly to tweets and elsewhere on the microblogging site. In other words, Twitter’s team will be able to proactively identify breaking topics or those that could become a source of misinformation. “In these cases, Twitter will turn to partners – who are trusted sources of information – to contextualize developing discourse,” the company said.
This would help Twitter to curb the spread of misinformation and getting viral. So instead of waiting for something to go viral and then correct the misleading tweets, Twitter will be able to add information firsthand to things as they are developing. The company is also expecting to use the partnership in features where context is very important. Twitter here talks about the crowd-sourced fact-checking system Birdwatch. It will use the news feed of the partners to determine the quality of information shared by participants of Birdwatch. Twitter is working on extending better support to the curation team. This is because it wants to avoid a situation like the one it faced in 2020 following the death of Jeffrey Epstein. But, the partnership with Reuters and AP will only help the company with only English content. However, it is important to note that the company has huge followers in other languages as well like Arabic, Spanish, Japanese and Portuguese. On this, the company said that it will deliberate on options to onboard collaborators that can extend support for other languages. The microblogging site has often found it hard to curb the spreading of misinformation due to its real-time nature.