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Twitter Is Asking Users to Flag Misinformation, Including About COVID and Elections

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Twitter is turning to the wisdom of crowds for help in curbing misinformation on the social network.

On Tuesday, Twitter announced that is launching the test of a new feature that will let users report posts that “seem misleading,” in the same way it lets people report spam and tweets that are abusive or harmful, or express “intentions of self-harm or suicide.”

“We’re testing a feature for you to report Tweets that seem misleading — as you see them,” Twitter’s Safety team said. “Starting today, some people in the U.S., South Korea, and Australia will find the option to flag a Tweet as ‘It’s misleading’ after clicking on Report Tweet.”

Now, users in those countries will see an additional option when they select “Report Tweet” that says, “It’s misleading,” with categories for politics, health or “something else.”

“We’re assessing if this is an effective approach so we’re starting small,” according to Twitter Safety. “We may not take action on and cannot respond to each report in the experiment, but your input will help us identify trends so that we can improve the speed and scale of our broader misinformation work.”

Twitter already has policies prohibiting misinformation about elections and COVID — although President Joe Biden recently slammed social media companies as “killing people” by allowing false information about coronavirus vaccines spread on their platforms.

Under Twitter’s “COVID-19 misleading information policy,” the company says it will label or remove false or misleading information about topics including transmission of the virus, such as false claims about asymptomatic spread or false information about how it is transmitted indoors and posts about COVID-19 vaccines “that invoke a deliberate conspiracy by malicious and/or powerful forces.” Last week, Twitter suspended the account of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for seven days, saying her account had violated the COVID misinformation policy multiple times.

Meanwhile, according to Twitter’s civic integrity policy, users are banned from using Twitter’s services “for the purpose of manipulating or interfering in elections or other civic processes,” including “posting or sharing content that may suppress participation or mislead people about when, where, or how to participate in a civic process.” In addition, Twitter says, it “may label and reduce the visibility of Tweets containing false or misleading information about civic processes in order to provide additional context.”

For example, Twitter had flagged hundreds of post-election posts by Donald Trump as “disputed” or misleading before it permanently banned Trump from the platform after he posted messages in support of the rioters who attacked the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.