Twitter is going to begin adding warning labels to “significantly and deceptively altered” images and videos that are designed to mislead people.
The social network also says it will remove deliberately misleading manipulated media that is likely to cause harm – including content that could result in threats to physical safety, mass violence or widespread civil unrest.
Twitter has not said whether authentic material that could cause similar harm will remain on the platform, and has not responded to questions from Sky News about the size of the team that will moderate content.
We know that some Tweets include manipulated photos or videos that can cause people harm. Today we’re introducing a new rule and a label that will address this and give people more context around these Tweets pic.twitter.com/P1ThCsirZ4
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 4, 2020
Users who retweet or like doctored and manipulated content will be shown a warning before doing so, and Twitter says it will “provide additional explanations or clarifications, as available, such as a landing page with more context”.
In a video, Twitter showed an example landing page that featured news reports from trusted media organisations about a doctored video.
Setting out its plans, the company acknowledged that deciding what might cause harm could be difficult to define – and some material may fall into a grey area.
A blog post announcing the changes read: “This will be a challenge and we will make errors along the way – we appreciate the patience. However, we’re committed to doing this right.”
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Tech companies are currently under intense pressure to prevent interference in November’s US presidential elections.
Social networks including Twitter have faced criticism for outsourcing content moderation to journalistic organisations that spend their resources investigating deceptive videos and images.
Last year, an articlein the online technology magazine Motherboard argued that tech companies have been getting free content moderation from journalists for years.
The article noted how Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey told a US Senate hearing: “We have this amazing constituency of journalists globally using our service every single day, and they often – with a high degree of velocity – call out unfactual information.
“We don’t do the best job of giving them tools and context to do that work, and we think there’s a lot of improvements we can make to amplify their content and their messaging so people can see what is happening with that content.”
Mr Dorsey was speaking to the Senate intelligence committee during a hearing on interference in the 2016 US election, during which the company said 1.4 million of its users interacted with Kremlin-linked accounts that spread Russian propaganda.
Back in 2018, charges were filed against 13 employees of the so-called Internet Research Agency in Russia for illegally interfering in the 2016 election.
A declassified intelligence community assessment claimed this interference in support of Donald Trump was ultimately unsuccessful in altering the result of the vote.