“Misinformation” is a term that is, by and large, competing with the popular “fake news” – as politicians and major media outlets urge strict policing of social media platforms in terms of content posted on them.
It isn’t just that the term “misinformation” is different – it’s also much vaguer. And even though nobody seems to be explaining the exact set of rules that are used to identify and measure what represents misinformation on the internet – tech giants are promising to get rid of it.
Among them is Twitter, whose CEO Jack Dorsey told investors on Friday that the platform has set “protecting the integrity of the conversation” around the upcoming US presidential elections as its top priority.
Twitter – and by extension, Dorsey – has massive influence on the political conversation.
If the rules for identifying misinformation aren’t clear – tech giants have been giving some insight into the mechanisms they are using to suppress (mis)information that they don’t want on their platforms.
“We do see, obviously, a lot of conversation around news and politics, around the Democratic debates, and we believe that Twitter has an important role to carry these conversations and to help learn about what’s unfolding within other countries,” Dorsey told analysts and investors after Twitter reported second-quarter earnings on Friday.
“Our number one priority within elections and conversations on the elections,” Dorsey said, “is making sure we’re protecting the integrity of the conversation.” That requires “identifying forms of manipulation used to amplify misleading information,” said the CEO.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told his investors earlier in the week that the company would use “software” – meaning, algorithms powered by artificial intelligence (AI) – and human moderators to hunt down “misleading posts.”
Facebook and Twitter both also promise more transparency on political ads – including what the buyer “supported” previously.
Twitter and other Big Tech players, meanwhile, deny any political bias. But Twitter also has a new feature, the website remarked, that adds “a warning label for tweets from government officials that break its rules.”
Although not explicitly referring to Trump, it seems like this is Twitter’s compromise addressing criticism coming its way from anti-Trump media and politicians, who have for a long time campaigned in favor of banning the president from the platform.