Twitter is partnering with Reuters and The Associated Press (AP) to help provide more context to tweets. Will this make the social media website less of a misinformation cesspool? Probably not, but every little bit helps.
Announced in a blog post on Monday, Twitter’s Curation team will collaborate with both news organisations (separately) to swiftly provide credible context to tweets, hoping to quash misinformation before it spirals out of control. It is the first time Twitter has formally worked with news outlets for this purpose.
“We are committed to making sure that when people come to Twitter to see what’s happening, they are able to easily find reliable information,” wrote Twitter, which is kind of sad considering how notorious the social media website has become for spreading misinformation. “Twitter will be able to expand the scale and increase the speed of our efforts to provide timely, authoritative context across the wide range of global topics and conversations that happen on Twitter every day.”
Twitter’s Curation team is already responsible for contextualising tweets, whether that’s by attaching descriptions to Trends, surfacing credible information at the top of searches, or adding warning labels to misleading posts. It’s also in charge of showing prompts linking to trustworthy information during high profile events, like a presidential election or deadly global pandemic.
However, Twitter states its partnership with Reuters and AP will help it increase the efficiency of this work, letting it quickly provide credible resources as Trends are only beginning to emerge. Twitter will also present context on popular topics before they go viral, and use Reuters and AP’s support to improve features such as Birdwatch, its crowdsourced fact-checking portal.
“We’re excited to partner with Twitter to leverage our deep global and local expertise to serve the public conversation with reliable information,” said Reuters’ Hazel Baker in a statement.
“AP has a long history of working closely with Twitter, along with other platforms, to expand the reach of factual journalism,” said AP’s Tom Januszewski. “This work is core to our mission.”
The collaborations will initially focus on tweets in English, however Twitter has expressed an intention to eventually expand globally to other languages.
Twitter has had significant trouble stemming the proliferation of misinformation on its platform, most notably concerning COVID-19 and the 2020 U.S. presidential election. It’s an enormous and persistent problem that the social media platform’s new partnerships will by no means solve, but at least they’ll mitigate it a bit.