Twitter’s 5G and Coronavirus Fact Checker is Broken

Twitter added fact-checking functionality to its platform to curb the spread of misinformation and conspiracy theories relating to the pandemic and 5G. The feature has now become so aggressive that it is starting to tag tweets with fact-checking labels even when they only say “5G” or don’t actually link coronavirus with it at all.

Twitter started removing violent content relating to the cell tower attacks in the UK and claimed in May that they would apply fact-checking labels. These labels can now be found on tweets that are not related to any conspiracy theories at all.

However, the company did claim that the labels system is an “iterative process” and it might make some mistakes. The process would learn from exposure and would be refined over time.

Here is the official statement:

Labeling or placing a warning on Tweets continues to be an iterative process.  Given the global spread of misinformation and disputed claims around 5G and COVID-19, we prioritized labeling tweets with that information. Our team is currently reviewing other types of content and will label additional tweets soon.

Hopefully, the learning process shouldn’t take long considering the amount of time it has already been. This kind of ubiquity might desensitize people, especially those who need to see legitimate fact-checking labels the most. But at the same time, the system being more aggressive might also catch conspiracy theorists and those spreading misinformation who might otherwise slip under the radar unnoticed.

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