In the ongoing battle against rampant abuse on its platform, microblogging site Twitter is working to add a new feature that would let users flag tweets that contain misleading, false or harmful information, the media reported. Twitter is still testing the feature and if released could look like a tab appearing in a drop-down menu alongside tweets, The Washington Post reported recently. The new tool may help the company, with more than 300 million monthly users, to fight fake accounts, extremists that use the platform to recruit and even hate-spewing trolls that have threatened women and minorities. However, Twitter said there are “no current plans to launch” the feature.
“There are no current plans to launch any type of product along these lines,” Twitter spokeswoman Emily Horne was quoted as saying. Horne added that she would not comment on whether it was being tested. According to a Twitter blog post in June, the company said that it was adding personnel and resources and building new tools, but shared few details about the effort. Twitter is “working hard to detect spammy behaviours”, Colin Crowell, Vice President of Policy, said in a blog post in June.
Such behaviours include automated accounts that retweet the same message over and over or all at once in a concerted effort to manipulate trending topics, he noted. “We’ve been doubling down on our efforts,” Crowell said. However, it is not yet clear how Twitter’s feature to combat fake news would function and the company is still researching how to design it, the report said. The company is also focussing on machine learning to detect micro-signals from accounts to determine whether they are fake, the report noted.
Other social media platforms like Facebook, with two billion users, have used crowdsourcing and also rolled out a tool that lets users flag content they think might be false. Google has also asked the public to help spot pages that are misleading or offensive.