Twitter has made some changes to its policies and the way it displays Tweets that may contain misleading content. This is part of the company’s efforts to combat fake news and false reporting that has been plaguing the web in the last few years.
Twitter’s new synthetic and manipulated media policy was originally implemented on 5 March and is designed to allow the company to label misleading Tweets, including everything from manipulated videos to full-blown deepfakes.
The first instance of this labelling occurred recently when White House social media director Dan Scavino shared a video that was later retweeted by the US President.
Just in: Twitter applied its new manipulated media label for the first time to a deceptively edited video of Joe Biden. It was shared by White House social media director Dan Scavino, and retweeted by the president. pic.twitter.com/PggcCwMNkx
— Cat Zakrzewski (@Cat_Zakrzewski) March 8, 2020
This version of the video had been edited to make it look like Democratic candidate Joe Biden was endorsing President Trump for re-election when the reality was in fact quite different.
According to a report by the Washington Post, the manipulated media label was applied to that Tweet, but not until 18 hours after it had first appeared on the platform. By that time it had already been seen by several million people and retweeted thousands of times, so it might have been too little, too late.
It is good, however, to see Twitter taking action against such deceptive Tweets. This is clearly a concerted effort by the company to ensure users can rely on the information they’re seeing on the service as well as combating the spread of fake news.
This new policy prohibits the sharing of “synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm” so we’d expect to see more of it in the near future.