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Twitter steps up Ukraine misinformation battle

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Twitter has mentioned it plans to place deceptive tweets from official accounts in regards to the Ukraine conflict behind warning notices.

The change follows heightened scrutiny of the social media platform after the conflict unleashed a brand new surge of misinformation, generally from authorities sources.

But it additionally faces free speech issues.

Under the corporate’s new “crisis” insurance policies, Twitter will prioritise labelling false posts from accounts with broad reach, like state media or political figures, whereas preserving them for “accountability” causes.

Users might be required to click on by the warning discover to view the submit and Twitter will disable the power to love, retweet or share the content material.

Twitter mentioned it could additionally change its search and discover options to keep away from amplifying false tweets.

“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 safety and security wrote in a weblog submit asserting the adjustments.

Twitter mentioned examples of problematic posts included false or deceptive allegations of conflict crimes, false data relating to the worldwide response and false allegations relating to use of pressure.

The firm mentioned it could depend on a number of sources to find out when claims are deceptive. Strong commentary and first individual accounts are among the many forms of tweets that might not be challenged by the coverage, it mentioned.

The new insurance policies come simply weeks after Twitter’s board agreed to a $44bn (£34.5bn) takeover supply from billionaire businessman Elon Musk, who has referred to as for much less moderated speech on the platform.

He has mentioned he would revoke Twitter’s controversial ban of former US President Donald Trump, whom Twitter suspended citing the danger that he would incite additional violence.

Mr Roth mentioned Twitter had began engaged on the brand new insurance policies for disaster conditions earlier than the invasion of Ukraine, although the battle had highlighted their significance.

Early within the conflict, the corporate took steps to restrict the reach of Russian media accounts. But it didn’t have a transparent approach to disinformation unfold by political figures or authorities accounts.

While moderators did take away some posts, consultants referred to as the shortage of technique relating to authorities propaganda a “critical gap” within the agency’s moderation insurance policies.

Last month Twitter mentioned it had recognized greater than 300 Russian authorities accounts, which it could cease recommending in timelines, notifications or elsewhere on the positioning.

“Content moderation is more than just leaving up or taking down content, and we’ve expanded the range of actions we may take to ensure they’re proportionate to the severity of the potential harm,” Mr Roth wrote.

On a name with reporters, Mr Roth mentioned the agency had seen “both sides share information that may be misleading and/or deceptive”.

“Our policy doesn’t draw a distinction between the different combatants,” he mentioned. “Instead, we’re focusing on misinformation that could be dangerous, regardless of where it comes from.”

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