On Tuesday, Twitter announced that it will begin testing a new reporting feature that allows users to report tweets that contain possible misinformation.
Starting today, users will be able to report misinformation through the same process as harassment or other harmful content, via the drop-down menu at the top right of each tweet. Users will be prompted to choose whether the misleading comment is political, health related, or falls under another category. The political category includes more specific forms of disinformation such as election-related content. The health category will also include an option for users to report misinformation specific to COVID-19.
The new feature will be available on Tuesday for most users in the United States, Australia and South Korea. Twitter said it plans to run the experiment for a few months before deciding to roll it out in other markets.
Twitter has said that not all reports will be reviewed as the platform continues to test the functionality. But the data obtained from the test will help the company determine how it might extend the functionality in the coming weeks. The test could be used to identify tweets containing disinformation that also have the potential to go viral.
Last month, the Biden administration took a stronger stand against misinformation as new variants of COVID-19 continued to spread. President Biden told reporters in July that social media platforms like Facebook are “killing people” with misinformation about vaccines.
The statement follows a coordinated campaign by White House pressure platforms to more aggressively eliminate disinformation about coronaviruses. The Office of the Surgeon General of the United States released a report outlining new ways in which platforms could counter health misinformation. The report called for “clear consequences for accounts that repeatedly break” a platform’s rules and for companies like Facebook and Twitter to rethink their algorithms to “avoid amplifying” false information.
Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) also introduced a bill earlier this year that would remove the liability shield of Facebook and other social media platforms under Section 230 if they amplified harmful information for public health.