Tech

Twitter could soon slap bright badges on misleading tweets

Bright red and orange labels. Community points for moderators. Twitter is trying to fix misinformation on its platform but will it work?

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A leaked demo sent directly to NBC News shows Twitter is still trying to fix its misinformation problem. The demo mentions details lightly laid out in a recent company post published in February, including slapping labels on misleading tweets and awarding community users with points who report misinformation on the platform.

For several years now, Twitter has been trying to fix the spread of fake news and general disarray on its network. But the results of these efforts have been laughable. For example, the company recently struggled to tackle misleading information about the coronavirus.

Plus, advertisers can easily run ads targeting hate groups, the company's "Conversation Dynamics" would let false claims flourish without consequence, it also has trouble battling foreign propaganda campaigns, and hackers can easily compromise platform security and target unsuspecting users. It is, as they say, a hell website.

Come spring, a new Twitter (maybe) — The leaked demo sounds extremely similar to what Twitter's head of site integrity Yoel Roth and group product manager Ashita Achuthan wrote in a company blog post in early February. Both Twitter employees noted, just like it is mentioned in the leaked demo, that the social network would try to act tougher on synthetic and manipulated media, and that these changes would roll out on March 5, which is the same date in the demo.

A Twitter survey found that 9 out of 10 people wanted warning labels prominently displayed next to "significantly altered" media, they wrote. To meet that request, Roth and Achuthan added that the next steps Twitter takes might include "applying labels to a tweet" as a form of a warning.

Red and orange labels — In photos shared with NBC News, the demo shows that Twitter might allow fact-checkers and verified reporters to flag inaccurate tweets through a new "community reports" feature. Once the tweet is officially flagged, Twitter will paste a prominent orange or red badge stating that the tweet is "harmfully misleading."

Cookies for good Twitter users — Another iteration of community rules may involve awarding points to Twitter users who flag harmful tweets, per NBC News. Although the outlet reported that Twitter will reward users who report in "good faith," the website is riddled with people who act like e-hall monitors and scolds who may take advantage of this well-intentioned tool. Since the demo is a design mock-up for now, none of these changes are concrete or permanent — yet.