Tech giant Twitter has for the first time identified a message from a Dutch politician as misleading. How does such a fact check work and what are the consequences for the messages?
On Sunday, March 7 tweeted Forum for Democracy party leader Thierry Baudet not to be vaccinated against the corona virus, because according to him the risk of the virus is ‘completely negligible’. At the same time, the politician claimed that the side effects of the vaccine are severe.
That’s not true, according to Twitter’s fact-checkers. A warning has therefore been placed under Baudet’s message: ‘This tweet is misleading’, the social network states, after which a reference is made to a page with verified information about the corona virus.
What does this mean for Baudet’s tweet?
Anyone who opens the tweet will see the warning from Twitter at the bottom. It does not stop there: the options to respond to the message or post a like are blocked, thus limiting the spread of the tweet.
Retweeting has also been made impossible unless you choose to quote the original tweet in combination with your own message. Those who do so will be warned again about the misleading information contained in the tweet.
Why doesn’t Twitter delete the message?
Fake news and misleading messages from other users are usually removed from Twitter, but the social network makes an exception for politicians. That was already the case in 2019, when the platform initiated this policy after a series of controversial tweets from then-US President Donald Trump.
The company does not want to silence politicians and people involved in the government, but does intervene in case of misleading reports. That is why this approach was chosen. On the blog of the tech giant, a number of exceptional situations have been mentioned: if a politician promotes terrorism or threatens violence, this can still lead to a message being deleted.
Who actually checked whether the message is correct?
Who exactly performs the fact checks for Twitter is shrouded in mystery. “As far as is known, Twitter does not use external fact-checking organizations,” says Alexander Pleijter, assistant professor of Journalism and New Media at Leiden University and fact-checker at News checkers.
A company spokesperson did not respond to questions about the exact fact-checking process, but stressed that Baudet’s tweet violated the rules. In blog posts Twitter refers to an internal team that performs checks.
Twitter does state that during elections there is cooperation with political parties, researchers and experts to properly organize the policy on the social network, so that potentially misleading information is reported correctly.
Trump was eventually suspended, can that also happen to Baudet?
While Trump has spread disinformation on several occasions and was tackled in a similar fashion, according to Twitter, that was according to the tech giant not the reason he was expelled. This had to do with two reports about the storming of the Capitol: the company feared that the former president was inciting similar violent crimes.
Baudet’s message does not appear to violate the rules that could lead to a politician’s suspension on Twitter, so it is unlikely to happen now.
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This is how the Twitter fact check of politicians such as Baudet | Tech
Source link This is how the Twitter fact check of politicians such as Baudet | Tech