Twitter Will Start Banning Deceptive, Fake Media

Posted on February 4, 2020 by Mehedi Hassan in Social with 23 Comments

Social media can be a very scary place. Especially with fake news spreading quickly and misinformation often being shared on social media, sometimes the stuff you see on sites like Facebook and Twitter may not always be accurate.

And as part of its effort to reduce the spread of misinformation on its platform, Twitter will now start banning deceptive, fake media on its platform.

Twitter said that the company understands that some tweets may include manipulated photos or videos that can cause people “harm”. Twitter will, therefore, start removing some of these tweets that may include manipulated photos/videos. For some others, Twitter will start labelling them as misinformation, with more information on exactly how the shared media is fake, etc.

The company says the move was triggered by a survey it did last year, whereby a majority of users said they wanted Twitter providing more information and context on tweets that may have included fake media while labelling those tweets as misinformation.

Twitter is actually going to start labelling tweets with fake media starting on March 5. “This will be a challenge and we will make errors along the way — we appreciate the patience. However, we’re committed to doing this right. Updating our rules in public and with democratic participation will continue to be core to our approach,” the company said. You can find out more about the new policy here, and here.

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Comments (23)

23 responses to “Twitter Will Start Banning Deceptive, Fake Media”

  1. fishnet37222

    I hope they don't ban satirical media like The Onion or Babylon Bee.

  2. maethorechannen

    In reply to Greg Green:

    They stop being information carriers the moment they start editorialising, and what they're going to start doing looks a lot like editorialising.

  3. codymesh

    In theory this is good, but we all know, most of these tech companies don't really have a good finger on the pulse, and the same applies for Twitter.

    Also i'm pretty sure people in positions of power will never have their disinformation get slapped with these labels (out of fear of being accused of political motives/censorship), so I can't wait for the inevitable collective mea culpa the tech press will have about this 5-10 years later. Maybe Walt Mossberg will even write another column about privacy and imply how Apple is the true leader in running a business with principles and ethics!

    They have already started banning clearly-labelled parody and satire accounts. Democracy is saved!

  4. harrymyhre

    I tried to teeet “bone spur” and it would let me.

  5. sevenacids

    It doesn't matter what think tank or which spin doctors created the terms "Fake News" and "Fake Media" - everybody is using these terms these days. The thing is: no one ever provided a _clear_ definition of what they actually mean and where they apply to. So I think it's dangerous to assume that they will be used only to label things "fake" in the sense that they contradict with assured facts (lame example: 1+1=3). Especially when it comes to political content. Therefore, I think it's best to not trust Facebook, Twitter etc. in deciding where to put these labels on, and always cross-check for yourself when in doubt. There's too much lying going on these days that is sold as the truth. Or, as Kant put it: "Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity (Unmündigkeit)."

  6. txag

    Given Twitter’s history of bans, there is no basis to trust them on this.

  7. pherbie

    Does anyone actually trust we they see in twitter from just anyone?

  8. orbsitron

    Super important to do. It won't be perfect and there will be incorrect judgment calls. It's important to start somewhere and to evolve. Good for Twitter for being willing to take this on despite the challenge. I would love to see Facebook do the same thing.

    • jecouch66

      In reply to orbsitron:

      If you say "I believe in free speech.", I believe you. If you say "I believe in free speech, but..", I see nothing but a dangerous Robespierre and his Committee For Public Safety. No thank you.

      The problem we have in America is not fake news; it's a population too busy with Instagram and selfies to educate themselves on the issues. Please spare me the moral panic's and need to "start somewhere". If you need to start somewhere, that place isn't Twitter, Facebook or YouTube. It's a library.

    • lvthunder

      In reply to orbsitron:

      So you are anti-free speech I see.

      • rm

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Lying instead of providing facts to get votes for an election by providing false information is very harmful to the country. Saying bad things or even good things that false about someone is bad and yes you can take them to court, but if Twitter can start to control this successfully, then free-speech will actually prosper.

      • red.radar

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Free speech is not a license to say whatever you want without consequences. If your speech is slanderous and intent on spreading propaganda then it should be moderated.

        free speech is to protect the marketplace of ideas and thoughtful discussion. It is not a platform to spread lies, propaganda or inaccuracies.

        there is a way to determine truth and factual content. It’s time to moderate online discourse to protect civil democracy.

        I will say that these early days will need careful monitoring and I expect us to learn and adapt as we tackle the problem. We got to start somewhere. Most comment sections under news articles are cesspools of partisanship and extremism. And Twitter is a negative energy amplifier.

        furthermore ... free speech only protects you from your government. These are independent corporate platforms. Twitter has a lot of power to moderate it’s platform

        • ajgisler

          In reply to red.radar:

          You are correct Twitter is does not have to comply with the 1st Amendment but you are wrong on what is considered free speech.

          You absolutely have a right to tell lies and propaganda. You you can be found guilty of libel and slander but this is a very difficult. It's even more difficult to be found guilty if directed a public figure.

          You think we have to start somewhere but this is what people have been saying with every form of new communication from the telegraph, radio and television.

          I suggest you watch a short video on youtube titled:

          Fake News and the First Amendment: Free Speech Rules (Episode 3)

        • jecouch66

          In reply to red.radar:

          " It is not a platform to spread lies, propaganda or inaccuracies."

          The whole point of having free speech is that I don't trust you to tell me what are "lies, propaganda or inaccuracies". Just as you don't trust me. If you propose a given idea or political statement, it's my responsibility to verify it - not some biased tech company functionary. The points made by others here remain valid; how do I know who to trust? CNN? Fox News? Please. I've said this here before; if you want to know whether something is true, watch CNN and Fox (re: left/right sources). Where they agree, you probably have a truth. Where they disagree, you have opinion or biased sentiment, or outright falsehood. It's really not that hard.

        • innitrichie

          In reply to red.radar:

          If speech is slanderous, then the legal system should be the recourse.

          The problem with trying to moderate "lies" or what you consider to be "propaganda" is you start getting into the weeds very quickly. Plenty of online content would be classed as "propaganda" or "lies" by either the left or the right, just based on each others political biases and opinions alone.

          So a leftie sees something they dislike, they organise and flood Twitter with demands its taken down because its "propaganda" or "lies", Twitter decides they should remove it, or re-classify as fake news. Then the right see something on the left they loathe, and they say you gotta pull this down because it too fits into the "propaganda" or "lies" category. And off you go.

          I wonder what the legal ramifications will be when they incorrectly accuse someone of spreading or dealing in "fake news". Because even they admit it's going to happen. I'm not sure a judge will be too impressed with the argument: We're so sorry! Please understand this feature is just at an Alpha stage, and bugs are inevitable in the algorithm.

  9. lvthunder

    So who gets to decide what is true and what's not? Since in the USA it seems both sides of the political isle have their own set of facts.

  10. djross95

    What could possibly go wrong?

  11. ashakantasharma

    Its very easy to say but hard to implement and follow further on this...