|Weekly News Digest
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COVID-19 NEWS: 'More Harm Than Good? Twitter Struggles to Label Misleading COVID-19 Tweets'
Queenie Wong writes the following for CNET:
Automated technology that Twitter began using this month to label tweets containing coronavirus misinformation is making mistakes, raising concerns about the company’s reliance on artificial intelligence to review content.
On May 11, Twitter started labeling tweets that spread a conspiracy theory about 5G causing the coronavirus. Authorities believe the false theory prompted some people to set fires to cell towers.
Twitter will remove misleading tweets that encourage people to engage in behavior such as damaging cell towers. Other tweets that don’t incite the same level of harm but include false or disputed claims should get a label that directs users to trusted information. The label reads ‘Get the facts about COVID-19’ and takes users to a page with curated tweets that debunk the 5G coronavirus conspiracy theory.
Twitter’s technology, though, has made scores of mistakes, applying labels to tweets that refute the conspiracy theory and provide accurate information. … In one case, Twitter applied the label to tweets that shared a page the company itself had published titled ‘No, 5G isn’t causing coronavirus.’ Tweets with words such as 5G, coronavirus, COVID-19 or hashtags #5Gcoronavirus have also been mistakenly labeled. …
‘We are building and testing new tools so we can scale our application of these labels appropriately. There will be mistakes along the way,’ a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement. ‘We appreciate your patience as we work to get this right, but this is why we are taking an iterative approach, so that we can learn and make adjustments along the way.’
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