Twitter has announced that it will place inaccurate messages regarding the Ukraine war from official accounts behind warning notices. The shift comes after the social media site came under increased scrutiny after the war unleashed a new wave of misinformation, some of which came from official sources.
More than 300 Russian government accounts, including President Putin’s, have already had their content restricted on Twitter. However, it raises questions about free speech.
Twitter’s new “crisis” procedures prioritise labelling false messages from accounts with a large following, such as state media or official government accounts, but keeping them for “accountability” reasons.
To view the post, users will have to click through the warning notice, and Twitter will limit the ability to like, retweet, or share the information.
To avoid magnifying bogus posts, Twitter announced it would adjust its search and explore tools.
“While this first iteration is focused on international armed conflict, starting with the war in Ukraine, we plan to update and expand the policy to include additional forms of crisis,” Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of security and safety wrote in a blog post announcing the changes.
False or inaccurate charges of war crimes, false information about the international response, and false allegations of use of force, according to Twitter, are examples of problematic messages.
The corporation stated that it would use numerous sources to determine whether or not claims are false. According to the guideline, strong commentary and first-person accounts are among the types of tweets that will not be disputed.
Elon Musk, a billionaire who has criticised Twitter’s content moderation measures, has been cleared for a $44 billion takeover.
The new restrictions are being implemented just weeks after Twitter’s board of directors approved a $44 billion (£34.5 billion) buyout offer from billionaire businessman Elon Musk, who has urged for less controlled speech on the network.
He has stated that he will lift Twitter’s controversial ban on former US President Donald Trump, which was imposed due to the potential of more violence.
Although social media corporations do not want to be truth referees, they now have so much control over what we see that they are increasingly obligated to serve as information judge and jury.
Twitter’s new crisis policies cater to war and conflict situations. It’s difficult not to perceive them through the lens of war in Ukraine, where an aggressive propaganda war is raging.
However, there are other wars where these rules may apply, such as Myanmar, where a civil war is raging and where, according to the UN, social media played a crucial role in a terrible slaughter.
It’s one thing to announce a rule; it’s quite another to put it into action. Although the corporation employs automated processes, user reporting is restricted. Twitter’s misinformation reporting function is only available in the United States and a few other countries.
There’s also another event on the horizon that might easily change things.
You may have heard that Twitter is about to get a new owner, one with more laissez-faire attitudes than the existing administration.
Roth stated that Twitter had begun developing new protocols for crisis situations before to the invasion of Ukraine, albeit the war had brought them to light.
The corporation took steps early in the conflict to limit the reach of Russian media accounts. However, it lacked a clear strategy for dealing with disinformation spread by politicians or government accounts.
While some messages were removed by moderators, experts described the absence of strategy in the firm’s moderation procedures as a “major weakness.”
Last month, Twitter announced that it had discovered over 300 Russian government accounts that it would no longer suggest in timelines, notifications, or anywhere else on the platform.
Roth told reporters on a conference call that the business had observed “both parties communicate information that may be misleading and/or deceptive.”
“Our policy doesn’t draw a distinction between the different combatants,” he said. “Instead, we’re focusing on misinformation that could be dangerous, regardless of where it comes from.”
(Adapted from BusinessInsider.com)