On Thursday, Twitter announced a new policy to combat disinformation during the crisis, setting new standards for rejecting or blocking the promotion of certain tweets if they are seen as spreading misinformation. The Verge reports: “Content moderation is more than just leaving or deleting content,” said Joel Roth, head of Twitter’s security and integrity service. blog post describing the new policy in detail, “and we have expanded the range of actions we can take to ensure that they are proportionate to the severity of the potential harm.” The new policy focuses on false reports of events, false allegations of the use of weapons or force, or more misinformation about atrocities or international reactions.

Fraudulent tweets and other misinformation are regularly circulated during emergencies as users rush to share unverified information. The speed of events makes it difficult to implement a normal system of verification or fact-checking, creating significant problems for moderators. Under the new policy, tweets classified as misinformation will not necessarily be deleted or banned; instead, Twitter will add a warning that requires users to press a button before the tweet can be displayed (similar to existing tags for explicit images). Algorithmic promotion of tweets will also be prohibited. Stronger standards need to be limited to specific events. Initially, Twitter will apply this policy to content related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but the company expects to apply the rules to all new crises. For policy purposes, a crisis is defined as “situations in which there is a widespread threat to life, physical security, health or basic existence.”

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