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Ukraine war: Twitter unveils new policy to combat 'crisis misinformation'

Twitter will no longer automatically recommend posts that mischaracterise conditions during a conflict.
Twitter will no longer automatically recommend posts that mischaracterise conditions during a conflict. Copyright AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File
Copyright AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File
By The Cube with AP
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False, viral tweets will no longer be amplified or recommended to users.


Twitter has introduced a new policy to crack down on online misinformation about the war in Ukraine and other humanitarian crises.

The social media platform will no longer recommend and amplify tweets that have been identified as false. Users will also be unable to like, retweet or share content that violates the new "crisis misinformation" rules.

The change is part of a broader effort to promote accurate information during times of conflict or crisis, following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

The policy will focus on potentially dangerous misinformation about alleged war crimes, conflict narratives, "the use of weapons," and humanitarian operations.

The platform will also make it a priority to add labels to verified, high-profile accounts that share misinformation about the war.

"During periods of crisis – such as situations of armed conflict, public health emergencies, and large-scale natural disasters – access to credible, authoritative information and resources is all the more critical," Twitter's Head of Safety & Integrity Yoel Roth said in a blog post.

"Misleading information can undermine public trust and cause further harm to already vulnerable communities," he added.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Twitter and other online platforms have struggled to combat the spread of misinformation, propaganda and false rumours -- spread by both ordinary users and state-affiliated accounts.

Twitter already has rules in place that prohibit digitally manipulated media as well as false claims about elections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Roth said that the new 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."

When labelling misinformation about the Ukraine war, the company will use a variety of credible sources including humanitarian groups, conflict monitors and fact-checking journalists.

“We have seen both sides share information that may be misleading and/or deceptive,” Roth added. "We’re focusing on misinformation that could be dangerous, regardless of where it comes from.”

Twitter and Meta -- the owner of Facebook and Instagram -- already label posts that are shared by Russian state-controlled media and diplomats and reduced their online reach.

It is unclear how the new policy will be implemented if Twitter is purchased by Tesla CEO Elon Musk for more than €40 billion.

Musk has pledged to make Twitter a haven for “free speech” and says the platform should only remove posts that violate the law.

The billionaire has also criticised the algorithms used by Twitter and other social platforms to recommend particular posts to individuals.

Musk's bid to buy Twitter is currently on hold amid a dispute over the number of fake or spam accounts on the social media platform.

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