UK politicians could see lies flagged by Twitter

UK politicians could face having bright red and orange badges added beneath their tweets if they post lies and misinformation.

Twitter is exploring ways to address misinformation, with one option including flagging tweets as “harmfully misleading” and providing corrections underneath.

NBC News was sent a leaked demonstration of how the new feature would work and published mock-ups of how it would look.

Twitter is considering new measures to counter misleading tweets
Image: A mock-up of the possible new measures to counter misleading tweets

Using examples from US politicians, tweets flagged as “harmfully misleading” would be accompanied by the message: “Twitter Community reports have identified this tweet as violating Community Policy on Harmfully Misleading Information.

“This tweet’s visibility will be reduced.”

Underneath the tweet, “top reports” from other Twitter users detailing why the tweet is misleading would be added.

NBC News reported these would be collated from fact-checkers and journalists who have verified Twitter accounts, or possibly by other users who would participate in a new “community reports” feature said to be “like Wikipedia.”

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One example was based on Democrat presidential candidate Bernie Sanders’ claim that 40% of guns in the US are sold without any background checks, which has been found to be false by US media.

The recent UK general election was marked by a series of rows over whether parties were being wholly truthful with their claims.

The Conservative Party was accused by Twitter of misleading the public after they rebranded one of their official party accounts to make it look like a factchecking service during a televised debate between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Twitter confirmed the leaked demo was one possible means of attempting to counter misinformation on their site.

A spokesperson said: “We’re exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for Tweets on Twitter.

“This is a design mockup for one option that would involve community feedback.

“Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it.”

Sky News understands Twitter has yet to decide whether or not to test the proposal, which is in very early stages of development.

Any further measures that Twitter does adopt to counter misinformation would be rolled-out globally.

Earlier this month, Twitter unveiled new rules that will not allow users to “deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm”.

They said: “We may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context.”

This labelling would begin from 5 March, Twitter added.

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