1984? Twitter Rolls Out Absurd New Feature to Report Tweets that ‘Seem Misleading’

August 18th, 2021 2:33 PM

Twitter is experimenting with an idea to manipulate willing users into acting as the platform’s censorship police in a new effort to crack down on online speech.

Twitter’s new and absurd feature is yet another way for the platform to crack down on content from users in the name of battling so-called misinformation. “We’re testing a feature for you to report Tweets that seem misleading - as you see them,” Twitter Safety announced Aug. 17. “Starting today, some people in the US, South Korea, and Australia will find the option to flag a Tweet as ‘It’s misleading’ after clicking on Report Tweet.” Twitter explained that it is “starting small” in order to “[assess] if this is an effective approach.” The platform did acknowledge, however, that “[w]e may not take action on and cannot respond to each report in the experiment, but your input will help us identify trends so that we can improve the speed and scale of our broader misinformation work.”

When asked about how soon a similar Twitter policy will be unleashed on Europe, Twitter explained: “In this experimental stage, we plan to learn from a small, geographically diverse set of regions before scaling globally to other areas!”

Interestingly enough, Twitter’s post itself can be reported as “misleading.” And perhaps it should be reported as such. After all, Twitter doesn't have much right to be the arbiter of what is or isn’t misinformation, considering its history of bias and selective enforcement in Q2 of 2021 alone.

Twitter announced a few weeks before on Aug. 2 that it was teaming up with liberal news and fact-checking sites The Associated Press (AP) and Reuters to censor content by adding so-called “reliable context” to trending news. “Twitter will be able to expand the scale and increase the speed of our efforts to provide timely, authoritative context across the wide range of global topics and conversations that happen on Twitter every day,” the company suggested.

The platform claimed the collaboration will contextualize stories and discussions that it anticipates could “potentially generate misleading information.” The platform further suggested the context provided will be useful “especially where facts are in dispute or when Twitter’s Curation team doesn’t have the specific expertise or access to a high enough volume of reputable reporting on Twitter.” Birdwatch, Twitter’s crowdsourced fact-checking mechanism, will also consult Reuters and AP when evaluating the noted context suggestions of Birdwatch participants.

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