‘Harmfully Misleading:’ Twitter Tests Warning Labels on World Leaders’ Tweets

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Holds Weekly News Conference
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Twitter is reportedly testing colorful labels on tweets from politicians and world leaders if the site determines the posts contain lies or misinformation. In leaked screenshots, a bright orange label describes tweets as “harmfully misleading.”

NBC News reports that social media site Twitter is experimenting with a feature that would add bright orange and red labels beneath the tweets of politicians. The labels would be added if Twitter decides the post is misleading or a lie.

The potential feature would see alleged disinformation posted by public figures on the platform corrected by fact-checker and journalists who have been verified on Twitter. The feature is still experimental but it is possible that other users will participate in the “community reports” program, which the demo claims is “like Wikipedia.”

A Twitter spokesperson told NBC News: “We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter. Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it.”

The demo shows tweets from politicians with large orange banners below reading “Harmfully Misleading.” Examples of how this system would work including badges attached to tweets from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and a tweet from author Anand Ranganathan.

The experimental policy comes just as the 2020 election season ramps up with Twitter playing a key role in the spread of political information. Last month, Twitter announced in a blog post relating to media on its platform that it would be banning any “synthetic or manipulated” media that is “likely to cause harm.”

One version of the demo of the new badge system for information notes that Twitter users could earn “points” and “community badge” if they “contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbor” and “provide critical context to help people understand information they see.”

“Together, we act to help each other understand what’s happening in the world, and protect each other from those who would drive us apart,” the demo states. A Twitter spokesperson reiterated to NBC that the community reporting feature is just one of several versions of the program that will be launched in the next few weeks.

“This is a design mock-up for one option that would involve community feedback,” the spokesperson said.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com

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