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Twitter's Policy to Fight Against Misinformation

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With a new policy targeting posts that disseminate potentially deadly false tales, Twitter is ratcheting up its fight against misinformation. The adjustment is part of a larger effort to ensure that correct information is available during times of conflict or catastrophe.

Starting on Thursday, the platform will no longer automatically promote or highlight content that make inaccurate claims regarding the Russian invasion of Ukraine, including material that mischaracterizes battle zones or falsely accuses civilians of war crimes or atrocities.

Twitter will also add warning labels to discredited statements regarding ongoing humanitarian situations under its new ‘crisis misinformation policy’, according to the San Francisco-based firm. Users will not be allowed to like, forward, or comment to posts that do not follow the new guidelines.

Twitter is the latest social media platform to deal with the spread of misinformation, propaganda, and hoaxes since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. This misinformation spans from well-intentioned users spreading falsehoods to Russian diplomats amplifying Kremlin propaganda or phoney accounts and networks tied to Russian intelligence.

The policy was written broadly to cover misinformation during other conflicts, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, or “any situation where there's a widespread threat to health and safety,” Roth adds

The new policy will be added to Twitter's current standards, which prohibit digitally edited media, fraudulent election and voting claims, and health misinformation, including refuted claims regarding COVID-19 and vaccines.

When determining whether a tweet is misleading, Twitter says it will consult a number of trustworthy sources. Humanitarian organizations, combat observers, and journalists will be among the sources.

Victor Zhora, a senior Ukrainian cybersecurity officer, praised Twitter's new screening policy and called on the international community to "develop appropriate measures to prevent the spread of misinformation throughout social networks."

“We have seen both sides share information that may be misleading and/or deceptive,” says Yoel Roth, Twitter's head of safety and integrity, who detailed the new policy for reporters. “Our policy doesn’t draw a distinction between the different combatants. Instead, we’re focusing on misinformation that could be dangerous, regardless of where it comes from.”

The policy was written broadly to cover misinformation during other conflicts, natural disasters, humanitarian crises, or “any situation where there's a widespread threat to health and safety,” Roth adds.

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