Twitter has provided an update concerning its work to tackle misinformation during the US election. As reported in a company blog post, the company has labelled over 300,000 tweets which represent 0.2% of all US election-related Tweets.
Unsurprisingly, it has been an extremely busy period for social media companies over the last few weeks. All have had to deal with a raft of fake news and hate speech during the election period. How the companies have dealt with this has certainly varied.
Twitter tried to take some proactive strategies with anti-misinformation banners in place before the day itself. The company also outlined its new plans on how to deal with those making claims of victory before it was announced. Anyone preemptively sharing results would have their tweet removed or labelled by the company
As reported by Engadget, Twitter has provided a range of statistics concerning their actions during the last few weeks. It appears the company was hard at work but the question is how effective was this work in actually curbing the spread of misinformation.
Twitter labelled 300,000 tweets during the election
As previously mentioned Twitter said it labelled over 300,000 Tweets during the US election for misinformation. This accounted for 0.2% of all election-related material.
On top of this, a further 456 tweets received harsher labels. These included a warning users had to click through before they could view the tweet. Users were also unable to retweet or liking said tweets. A number of these tweets originated from Donald Trump himself but the company did not disclose exactly how many.
Twitter also gave an update as to how quickly the company acted to add these labels. This gave a better insight as to how effective the system was in stopping the spread of misinformation.
It turns out that “74% of the people who viewed those Tweets saw them after we applied a label or warning message”. This, in turn, resulted in a 29% decrease in Quote Tweets of these labelled Tweets.
Therefore, it seems that the actions Twitter took did make some impact on the spread of misinformation. This is not to say that these actions were greatly effective as a 29% decrease leaves a lot of room for this material to spread.
However, on the whole, this should probably be seen as a positive result for Twitter. Social media companies are fighting a difficult battle when it comes to balancing stopping the spread of misinformation and also promoting free speech. Striking that happy medium is extremely tough and Twitter seems to be getting better at doing so.