Twitter is seriously fighting false news. According to a report, the social networking site is experimenting with a button that allows users to flag false information and prevent it from going viral.
In a blog post, Twitter suggested that it’s taking the spread of fake news seriously. Last year, it took steps in fighting damaging information. It’s currently exploring a feature that enables users to flag tweets.
However, it’s still a prototype. It’s also likely that it’s never going to be released. But it’s a part of the company’s battle against abuse on its platform. If it were released, the fake news button would look like a tab in a drop-down menu.
The platform is fighting a lot of issues, including fake accounts. People purchase fake accounts for pennies. Once created, they could spread automated messages and false stories. It’s reported that radicals are using the service as part of its recruiting tool.
After the presidential election, critics and researchers pointed out that social media has affected the results of the election. They cited that the fabricated news stories that spread on various social media sites caused confusion.
According to a Twitter Audit, it was found that 59 percent of the President’s followers are fake accounts or bots. Hillary Clinton’s, on the other hand, are 66 percent bots.
Twitter stated that the said feature might never be released. But it added that it has added personnel and resource and built new tools to fight this issue. Unfortunately, it didn’t share more details about the effort.
“We’re working hard to detect spammy behaviors at source, such as the mass distribution of Tweets or attempts to manipulate trending topics. We also reduce the visibility of potentially spammy Tweets or accounts while we investigate whether a policy violation has occurred. When we do detect duplicative, or suspicious activity, we suspend accounts. We also frequently take action against applications that abuse the public API to automate activity on Twitter, stopping potentially manipulative bots at the source.”
But Twitter isn’t alone in this quest. Facebook is finding new ways to fight fake news. Last March, it introduced a tool that enables users to flag content that might be false. They could do so by clicking a tab. If there’s enough “dispute,” the story is sent to fact checkers, which is an independent organization.
Google is also stepping up to help in determining misleading or offensive comments.
It’s not clear how the new feature of Twitter would function. The building of it is slow because there are issues and concerns that it could be used to game the system.
The new features of Twitter start with prototyping before its employees would test them internally. After that, they get released to a small group of people before they are published for all users.
However, some prototypes of Twitter never made it to the testing phase.
The vast scale of social media made it difficult for wealthy tech companies to minimize this type of abuse. Plus, they have to deal with a fine line between false news and sensational content.
“Twitter’s open and real-time nature is a powerful antidote to the spreading of all types of false information. This is important because we cannot distinguish whether every single Tweet from every person is truthful or not. We, as a company, should not be the arbiter of truth. Journalists, experts and engaged citizens Tweet side-by-side correcting and challenging public discourse in seconds. These vital interactions happen on Twitter every day, and we’re working to ensure we are surfacing the highest quality and most relevant content and context first.”