Twitter now has a new ‘crisis misinformation policy.’ In addition, Twitter announced a new guideline for dealing with misinformation during a crisis course, establishing new standards for gating or thwarting the promotion of specific tweets if they are seen as disseminating misinformation.
“Content moderation is more than just exiting up or taking down content,” explained Yoel Roth. He is Twitter’s head of safety and integrity.
He described it in a blog post detailing the new policy, “and we’ve developed the range of actions we may take to guarantee they’re proportionate to the severity of the possible harm.”
The internet is full of viral half-truths, outright lies, honest mistakes, and unreliable information. But in many cases, you can slice through the chaos by following a few simple rules.
The new policy examines false reporting of events, false allegations involving spears or use of force, or more comprehensive misinformation concerning atrocities of international reaction.
Fraud tweets and other misinformation regularly go viral during crises, as users flow to share unverified information. The sheer swiftness of events makes it hard to implement regular verification or fact-checking systems, creating a considerable challenge for moderators.
Under the new policy, tweets categorized as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or denied; instead, Twitter will add a caution label requiring users to click a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to the current tags for explicit imagery). The tweets will also be barred from algorithmic promotion.
The more robust efforts are meant to be limited to specific events. For example, Twitter will initially spread the policy to content concerning the ongoing Russian aggression on Ukraine.
Still, the company anticipates applying the rules to all emerging crises in the future. For the procedure, the crisis is defined as “situations in which there is an across-the-board threat to life, physical safety, fitness, or basic subsistence.”
The policy comes at a fragile time for Twitter, with the company’s authorized sale to Elon Musk in a confusing limbo. Musk has promised to scale back moderation systems at the company in favor of a maximalist idea of free speech.
But Musk claims the deal is on hold pending a bot investigation; it’s unclear when or how his ideas will be implemented.