In response to the Ukrainian crisis, Twitter announced this Thursday that it would be labelling and suppressing misinformation surrounding the armed conflict.
Policy bans will include “demonstrably false” or misleading claims of targeted war crimes, false reports of events unfolding on the ground and false claims on the use of weapons. This is part of the platform’s new crisis misinformation policy, designed to slow the spread of false information during natural disasters, armed conflict and public health emergencies.
This comes after government accounts released false information. “To determine whether claims are misleading, we require verification from multiple credible, publicly available sources, including evidence from conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more,” Twitter’s head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, wrote in a blog post.
As Ukraine gets ready to enter its fourth month of war, the new policy also comes amid an ongoing battle over the future of platform moderation, with European officials seeking to heighten standards surrounding tech companies’ content, and lawmakers in many US states seeking to force platforms to moderate less. The scrutiny extends to the ongoing Texas law case, where the Supreme Court is set to decide whether a law forcing tech platforms to stop moderating their sites can remain in effect.
The social media platform’s efforts to design a crisis misinformation policy began last year, before the Ukraine war. In the policy, Twitter defines crisis as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence.”
To this effect, Tweets that are labelled under the policy can remain on the service, Roth wrote in the blog post, but will be hidden behind a label notifying viewers that the claims within the tweet “might bring harm to crisis-affected populations.”
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