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Twitter is adopting new “misinformation” labeling the platform says will apply to “U.S. political figures” and users with more than 100,000 followers, sparking criticism from actor James Woods and others who believe the social media giant will use the labels to further target conservatives.
“Starting next week, when people attempt to Retweet a Tweet with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt directing them to credible information about the topic before they can amplify it,” says a post from Twitter Support containing a graphic of a sample tweet that has been labeled.
“To continue to address the risk of misinformation, we’ll add warnings and further restrictions on Tweets with misleading information labels from accounts owned by US political figures, US-based accounts with 100,000+ followers, or Tweets that obtain significant engagement,” Twitter Support added.
Starting next week, when people attempt to Retweet a Tweet with a misleading information label, they will see a prompt directing them to credible information about the topic before they can amplify it. pic.twitter.com/RCgYTY2OuI
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 9, 2020
We’ll temporarily ask people to add their own commentary before amplifying content by prompting Quote Tweets instead of Retweets. We hope this encourages everyone to consider why they are amplifying a Tweet, and brings more thoughts, reactions & perspectives to the conversation. pic.twitter.com/SGabVDtZlZ
— Twitter Support (@TwitterSupport) October 9, 2020
“We’ll temporarily ask people to add their own commentary before amplifying content by prompting Quote Tweets instead of Retweets. We hope this encourages everyone to consider why they are amplifying a Tweet, and brings more thoughts, reactions & perspectives to the conversation,” the platform noted further.
One of the examples the social media behemoth identifies as ‘misinformation’ is anything having to do with criticism of mail-in balloting, despite numerous documented examples of problems during this year’s primaries as more Americans voted by mail due to COVID-19.
To Woods, the new labeling is clear: It’s the platform’s latest attempt to suppress Republican politicians and certain political speech, including his own views.
“They are closing down conservative voices completely now. Be prepared that you will no longer be able to see most of my communications, if indeed my account remains open at all,” he wrote early Monday.
“Sorry, folks, but it’s over. And they couldn’t care less what you think. This is the face of tyranny,” he added.
Conservatives have long said they have experienced bias on social media platforms for years in the form of having their posts blocked, improperly ‘fact-checked,’ and suppressed, especially on Twitter — to include President Donald Trump’s posts.
During a May press conference, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany called out Twitter for hypocrisy and blatant anti-conservative bias, listing examples of how the platform doesn’t apply its content standards in an even-handed manner.
“I wanted to address what has been going on on Twitter and with social media. I believe it is time to ‘get the facts’ about Twitter and other social media platforms, targeting their bias against President Trump and conservatives online,” she said.
“If we were to judge the bias of Twitter and its top employees by their own words, the case would be an easy one to make,” she added, noting first the example of Yoel Roth, the platform’s chief of site integrity, who referred to “actual Nazis in the White House” in a January 2017 post.
“No fact-check label was ever applied to this absolutely outrageous, offensive and false claim made against the White House and its employees,” McEnany said, likely a reference to the platform’s ‘fact-check’ warning on Trump’s earlier criticisms of mail-in voting.
She then noted that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino earned Twitter’s first-ever “manipulated media” label for posting a verbatim video clip, describing it as “bias in action.”
“And while Big Tech is quick to censor the president, quick to censor some of his top employees, they’re very reluctant, it seems, to label some of the actions by Chinese officials, some of the misinformation that has been spread by China,” she said, adding that Facebook and Google also let Chinese propaganda stand as-is.
Conversely, in May Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told Fox News’ Dana Perino that social media platforms ought not be “arbiters of truth” in response to Twitter’s labeling of the president’s tweets.
“We have a different policy than Twitter on this,” Zuckerberg said. “I just believe strongly that Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online. I think in general, private companies probably shouldn’t be — especially these platform companies — shouldn’t be in the position of doing that.”
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