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Twitter is looking for ways to let users flag fake news, offensive content

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Washington Post
June 30, 2017

Twitter is exploring adding a feature that would let users flag tweets that contain misleading, false or harmful information, according to two people familiar with the company’s projects. 

The feature, which is still in a prototype phase and may never be released, is part of the company’s uphill battle against rampant abuse on its platform. It could look like a tiny tab appearing in a drop-down menu alongside tweets, according to the peoplewho spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the effort.

Twitter has been plagued by many issues, such as fake accounts that can be purchased outright for pennies and that spread automated messages and false stories. Extremists use the service as a recruiting tool, and hate-spewing trolls have threatened women and minorities.

These long-standing problems gained new urgency in the aftermath of the presidential election, when critics and researchers pointed to the toxic effect of social media on the public debate. Two-thirds of American adults say fabricated news stories that spread on social media have caused a “great deal of confusion” about basic facts and public events, according to a December poll from Pew Research Center. One estimate from the service Twitter Audit found that 59 percent of President Trump’s followers are bots or fake accounts, while Hillary Clinton’s are 66 percent bots. (Twitter does not comment on third-party estimates.)

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This article was posted: Friday, June 30, 2017 at 6:50 am





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