Twitter now lets users report misleading tweets
Social media is a powerful tool that enables ordinary people to cover news that mainstream outlets may not easily tackle. Just like any other tool, however, it can be used for both good and bad, the latter by spreading misinformation faster than actual, confirmed facts. Different platforms have different ways of dealing with this kind of behavior, whether intentional or otherwise, and Twitter is now giving its users a bit of that power to report posts that they might consider to be misleading rather than informative.
On a technical level, this new feature that’s being tested in some territories is an expansion of Twitter’s existing reporting system. It adds a new “It’s misleading” option in addition to spam or harmful content when reporting a tweet. Twitter will also ask the reporter whether the topic is related to Politics, Health, or something else.
Twitter says it’s still an experiment, and they might not even take action on each report. The system is, instead, designed to let Twitter know more quickly if there are trends that are producing misinformation so that it can react faster. It is, in other words, putting both the power and the responsibility on users to police the network.
We’re testing a feature for you to report Tweets that seem misleading – as you see them. Starting today, some people in the US, South Korea, and Australia will find the option to flag a Tweet as “It’s misleading” after clicking on Report Tweet.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) August 17, 2021
One problem that might arise with this feature is that Twitter doesn’t exactly have hard rules on what it would consider misleading information. As the past year or two have proven, both sides of an argument can accuse the other of spreading misinformation. In the end, Twitter will be the judge of what is considered misleading and which isn’t, with users simply providing metrics on rapidly growing trends.
Of course, not everyone will agree with Twitter’s rules anyway, which makes matters even vaguer. The ability to report misleading tweets is available for some people in the US, Australia, and South Korea, but it remains to be seen how long that experiment will last or if it will even become a standard Twitter feature.