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Twitter takes aggressive new steps to flag misinformation posted to the platform

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Twitter is doubling down on its efforts to combat the spread of misinformation on its platform, with a demo featuring prominent labels displayed under false information posted by public figures being leaked to NBC News.

Twitter has confirmed the leaked demo is a “design mockup for one option that would involve community feedback”. This suggests it could be a component of its new policies that target misinformation that will come into effect on March 5.

Screenshot of leaked demo includes a tweet about gun background checks by Sen. Bernie Sanders, an example of medical misinformation and a tweet about whistleblowers by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

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This follows on from an announcement this month that the social networking site will be flagging images, videos and audio that have been “deceptively altered” and is likely to cause users harm.

The leaked demo shows tweets from US politicians and Twitter-verified accounts that have a large orange-colored blurb beneath labeling them “harmfully misleading”. The label also includes input from various journalists and community fact-checkers who provide users with context and further clarification about the misleading information being shared.

In this possible iteration of the new feature, misleading information on Twitter can also be corrected by other users who, “contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbor” in a community-style moderation “like Wikipedia”.

Screenshot of Community Notes, which aim to provide critical context to tweets

(Image credit: Twitter)

The leaked demo shows this feature could be called “Community Notes”. According to NBC News, when users report misinformation, they are prompted to answer whether the tweet is “likely” or “unlikely” to be “harmfully misleading”. 

These users, then, will be asked how likely it is that others on Twitter will agree with them, using a scale of 1 to 100. They will also need to explain why they feel the tweet should be labeled as harmful.

Users who participate in the community moderation may earn “points” and a “community badge” to encourage sharing context around misinformation on the platform.

“We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter,” a Twitter spokesperson told NBC News. “Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it.”

Twitter has also recently partnered with the US Census Bureau, and will prompt users to visit the official US census website when searching for specific keywords on the platform.