Twitter has long had a reputation for poor surveillance and management of misleading or potentially negative content, be it topics of public interest or everyday interactions among users. To combat this, the social media giant has been making consistent remedial efforts in recent times. One of the most notable issues in this vein is the rapid spread of misinformation on Twitter platform.
Accordingly, Twitter has rolled out a new feature that aims to limit the spread of misinformation within the platform. This feature will generate an alert whenever a user retweets an article link without first visiting the link. This new Twitter feature is currently being tested and available for only android app users.
While the move was criticized by some of Twitter users for being a pay-per-click marketing strategy, the company responded by denying these claims. It has also clarified that the feature will not track users’ internet usage outside of the platform, i.e., whether or not the user has read the article outside of the app will not influence the reflection of the prompt. It was stated that users could always opt to retweet without checking the article first.
Not an isolated development
As mentioned earlier, Twitter has become more determined to make the platform more reliable.
A month ago the microblogging company updated its content policy to broaden the parameters which monitor information being circulated on its platform. To do so, it introduced a labelling system for disputed content, which adds links to reliable sources under such tweets. Along with this, it came up with a categorical system to take necessary action against such tweets.
The feature was initially aimed at tackling misinformation regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, but it as soon applied to a misleading tweet by US President Donald Trump regarding the mail-in voting system.
This act further highlighted Twitter’s endeavour to make the platform a more authentic place for users, due to its potential to produce viral content very quickly.
Twitter has a massive user base of more than 300 million monthly monetisable users, and some of its most-followed users are world and community leaders, including President Donald Trump. This fact, along with the platform’s likelihood to generate hot topics makes for a tedious combination.
Thus, all recent policy changes and new Twitter feature roll-outs have been the subject of widespread critique and debate. On the one hand, US republicans attack Twitter for promoting censorship and stifling of free speech, while on the other hand, communities, parties, and individuals with social justice leanings feel the company’s efforts at content management are still lacking.
Admittedly, there are several loopholes in the way Twitter policies play out in practice. The most major one being the standard for deciding which tweets need to be fact-checked or flagged and which ones don’t. For instance, while Twitter flagged President Trump’s suggestively violent tweet about the Minneapolis protests, it has failed to take similar action against other such events.
Thus, despite favourable developments, Twitter content policies have a long way to go.