Twitter is trialing a new feature allowing users to flag tweets for misinformation. The trial only covers users in the U.S., Australia, and South Korea, though it’s reasonable to assume it will eventually be expanded if it’s successful. Yay, I guess?
Announced Tuesday, the test basically just adds another category you can report tweets under. Click on those three dots in the top right corner of a tweet, select “Report Tweet,” and the option to flag it for being “misleading” is there right between the existing options “It’s abusive or harmful” and “It expresses intentions of self-harm or suicide.”
Credit: twitter screenshot / mashable
Once you select “It’s misleading,” you can then indicate whether the tweet is misleading about “politics,” “health,” or “something else.” However, you can’t write your own helpful notes like on Twitter’s crowdsourced misinformation flagging website Birdwatch. Instead the report just goes straight through once you select your flavour of misinformation — which meant I did accidentally report a tweet when testing this. Sorry about that.
This new category will allow Twitter users to report bad faith tweets that spread a partial truth to further a lie, for example. Of course, anyone who has ever reported a tweet knows that this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll see anything actually happen, a fact that Twitter fully acknowledges.
“Although we may not take action on this report or respond to you directly, we will use this report to develop new ways to reduce misleading info,” Twitter tells you when you go to report a misleading tweet. “This could include limiting its visibility, providing additional context, and creating new policies.”
Mashable reached out to Twitter for clarification on how long this trial will last, as well as how it will determine what is misleading, but the company declined to comment. However, it did note that it won’t directly respond to reports under this new category because the new feature is still experimental.
I’ve covered many incremental attempts by social media platforms to mitigate misinformation as we all continue killing each other through violence or indifference, and I’m so beyond tired that I can’t be hopeful anymore. There’s a new category to report bad tweets under. Yay. It feels like celebrating a drowning person managing to get one extra gasp of air. It’s good. But at this point, it’s just not enough.