Why Twitter should let health experts report COVID-19 misinformation

  • Twitter recently placed a warning label atop a tweet by President Trump in which he falsely claimed it to be less deadly than the seasonal flu, saying the tweet violated Twitter’s rules.
  • Still, Twitter currently offers no way for users to report information as false or violatory — finding and labeling misinformation seems to depend on Twitter conducting an internal review.
  • Christopher M. Worsham, Lakshman Swamy, and Rahul Ganatra are physicians who say Twitter should let verified health expert users flag false content for the company’s review.
  • They say this system could utilize the knowledge and people-power of thousands of doctors, and stop false information from rampantly spreading.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Twitter placed a warning label atop a tweet by President Trump last week that contained misinformation about COVID-19: He falsely claimed it is less deadly than seasonal influenza. This week it applied the same label

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Facebook’s long and halting fight against misinformation

Facebook is facing its toughest challenge yet: an election complicated by a pandemic, a deeply divided nation lured by conspiracy theories and alternate versions of reality. Is it ready? Here are some of its biggest steps and missteps it’s taken in the fight against misinformation since 2016.

Nov. 10, 2016: Days after the election of President Donald Trump, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg calls the idea that “fake news” on Facebook had influenced the election “a pretty crazy idea.” He later walks back the comment.

December 2016: Facebook says it will hire third-party fact-checkers to combat misinformation.


April 27, 2017: Facebook publicly acknowledges that governments or other malicious non-state actors are using its social network to influence national elections, in line with U.S. government findings of Russian interference.

October 2017: Facebook says ads linked to a Russian internet agency were seen by an estimated 10 million people before and after the

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Twitter’s ban almost doubled attention for Biden misinformation

The news: When Twitter banned, and then unbanned, links to a questionably sourced New York Post article about Joe Biden’s son Hunter, its stated intention was to prevent people from spreading harmful false material as America heads into the final stretch of the election campaign. But thanks to the cycle of misinformation—and claims from conservatives that social-media platforms are deliberately censoring their views—Twitter managed to do the opposite of what it intended. 

According to Zignal Labs, a media intelligence firm, shares of the Post article “nearly doubled” after Twitter started suppressing it. The poorly-thought-through ban triggered the so-called Streisand Effect and helped turn a sketchy article into a must-share blockbuster. And then on Friday, the Republican National Committee filed a Federal Election Commission complaint against Twitter, claiming that the ban “amounts to an illegal corporate in-kind political contribution to the Biden campaign.” 

The ban: Twitter blocked shares of the story

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Twitter says it will change policy on hacked content to stifle misinformation

Twitter said late Thursday it was changing its policy on hacked content after an outcry about its handling of an unverified political story that prompted cries of censorship from the right.

The social media company will no longer remove hacked material unless it’s directly shared by hackers or those working with them, the company’s head of legal, policy, trust and safety, Vijaya Gadde, said in a Twitter thread.

And instead of blocking links from being shared, tweets will be labeled to provide context, Gadde said.
“We want to address the concerns that there could be many unintended consequences to journalists, whistleblowers and others in ways that are contrary to Twitter’s purpose of serving the public conversation,” she said.

Twitter and Facebook had moved quickly this week to limit the spread of the story published by the conservative-leaning New York Post, which cited unverified emails from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s

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