Twitter is a popular source of accurate information around the globe. When a crisis occurs during wars, natural disasters, or public health emergencies, trust and reliability become more critical. For this very reason, Twitter recently introduced a crisis misinformation policy. This tool provides Twitter with guidance on elevating trustworthy, authoritative information so that misinformation won’t be amplified or disseminated in times of crisis.
As a result of misleading information, public trust can be undermined, and vulnerable communities can be worse off. Besides providing more reliable information during crisis events, this new approach will reduce the spread of misleading content during an emergency, especially the kind that could cause severe harm. What’s more about the crisis misinformation policy? Read on!
What’s involved in preparing the policy?
Over the past year, Twitter staff has been developing a crisis misinformation framework based on input from international advocacy and human rights groups. According to this policy, a crisis is a danger to life, health, physical safety, or necessities. This is how humanitarian crises look, according to UN definitions. Eventually, as the policy expands, it will apply to other global crises emerging in the future, informed by other international humanitarian frameworks.
A streamlined approach to responding to the most critical risks
It can be tough to determine whether something is true or false during such situations. Verifying whether claims are misleading requires the use of multiple credible, public sources, including evidence from conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organisations, reporters, and other open sources. During tough times, conversations move quickly, driving engagement and views to content from accounts with a big following.
Whenever a claim is proven to be misleading, it will not be amplified or recommended on Twitter – nor will it appear in the search box or timeline. Tweets from prominent and high-profile accounts sharing such information are more likely to receive warning notices, like accounts affiliated with state media or government agencies.
Below are a few examples of tweets to which a warning notice may be added:
- Reports or coverage that exaggerate the circumstances while a conflict unfolds;
- Inaccuracies regarding weapons, force, territorial incursions, or accusations of war crimes;
- A demonstration that crimes against humanity were committed against a specific population is false or misleading;
- Information relating to humanitarian response, a sanction, a defensive action, or a sanction against the international community.
This policy does not cover personal anecdotes, contrary commentary, and attempts at debunking or fact-checking.
Here are a few things to expect on Twitter
Twitter will place a warning notice above any tweets with content in violation of the crisis misinformation policy.
- For Twitter users, the content will not be amplified or recommended across the service, and they’ll be required to click through the warning notice to view it.
- The notice will also disable Likes, Retweets, and Shares and provide more information that can help achieve this approach.
- Moderating content goes beyond just removing or leaving it up, and you’ve got to make sure they’re proportionate to the seriousness of the damage.
It will be updated and expanded to include other forms of crisis after this first iteration of the policy focuses on international armed conflict, beginning with the conflict in Ukraine. The approach will complement our work in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, and India during other global problems.
There will be an early warning system.
Upon the application of two notices within a 30 day period, the account will be locked for a period of 12 hours. In the event of three or more notices being sent within 30 days, the time-out will be extended by seven days. Twitter may use a strike system if, for example, accounts repeatedly violate this policy, which will then serve as a clear indication that further action must be taken.
All in all, this policy looks very accurate in the current world of extensive digitalization. The media is constantly hunting for breaking news while various other social media handles are running to break the trends. In the midst of all this are the users who want to share and re-share the sensational news. With such a crisis misinformation policy now, users will be more thoughtful about what they share. Also, the original mediums from which the report is brewed will cautiously tweet the correct information. Hence, this looks like a need of the hour policy more than ever.