Twitter Says It Won’t Censor All Misinformation, Only Tweets with ‘the Highest Potential Harm’

Twitter Chairman and Square CEO Jack Dorsey moderates a panel discussion with Detroit entrepreneurs at Techonomy Detroit at Wayne State University September 17, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. The topic of the discussion was 'Turbocharging Detroit's Teconomy.' (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty, Bill Pugliano/Getty

Social media giant Twitter recently claimed that it’s not attempting to take down all misinformation on the platform, only that with “the highest potential for harm.” Breitbart News has documented numerous examples of misinformation that did not receive a “fact check” by Twitter, as well as for threats of violence that remained on the platform for extended periods.

Business Insider reports that social media giant Twitter has clarified its new policies on misinformation in a series of tweets, noting that the firm isn’t focused on flagging all misinformation on the platform but instead focusing on posts with the “highest potential for harm.”

The Silicon Valley company stated that based on a survey at the end of last year, most users believed that Twitter “shouldn’t determine the truthfulness of tweets,” but rather “provide context to help people make up their own minds in cases where the substance of a tweet is disputed.”

The company stated that labeled tweets will link to a Twitter conversation showing factual statements, counterpoint opinions and perspectives, and ongoing conversations surrounding the flagged topic. The firm explained that it would focus on the misinformation of “manipulated media, civic integrity, and COVID-19.”

Breitbart News recently reported on Twitter’s attempts to “fact check” President Trump, this time focusing on the President’s tweets discussing concerns surrounding mail-in voting fraud. Twitter chose to add its own personal “fact-check” to the President’s tweet, diverging from how many other social media sites apply fact-checking labels. Twitter was forced to correct its “fact check” after the company itself faced a fact check by the Wall Street Journal.

Social media sites such as Facebook work with third-party fact-checkers such as Factcheck.org, the Associated Press, and other organizations over 33 countries. This provides Facebook with a level of plausible deniability in fact-checking certain posts and information, pointing to their fact-checkers to avoid any criticism of censorship or bias.

Since then, President Trump has signed an executive order directing federal agencies to reinterpret Section 230, which “enables social media companies to maintain open forums without being held legally responsible for users’ posts.”

Twitter has since called the executive order “a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law.”

On Friday, Twitter flagged another of the President’s tweets in which he suggested that looters in Minnestoa might be shot. Twitter claimed that the tweet violated the site’s rules relating to “glorifying violence.”

However, just a few days later the site failed to remove a tweet from a verified Twitter user and rapper Key Nyata, suggesting that another user deserved to be shot. Nyata’s Facebook page lists him as a musician and he boasts a follower count of over 16,000 on Twitter.

Nyata quoted a tweet from journalist Cassandra Fairbanks who stated: “Judging by what has been allowed to take place in Minneapolis, maybe we need more oppression.” Nyata commented on the quoted tweet: “Judging by this tweet, maybe you need a bullet in the back of your skull.”

An archived version can be found here. Read a full report on the incident at Breitbart News here.

Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or contact via secure email at the address lucasnolan@protonmail.com

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