Social media has become a weapon more than a tool for some. Bot accounts can be bought or created without much effort and used for spreading fake news causing confusion and misinformed people like a wildfire. Not to mention extremists who are using Twitter as a public tool for hate speeches against other groups.
Washington Post’s news investigators have noticed the immediate increase of followers and fake accounts during the latest US presidential campaign.
That particular period brought a significant increase in numbers of paid bots and fake accounts. Hate speech that appeared mostly from followers of, Donald Trump, according to Twitter audit tools, says WP.
Twitter in trouble?
Twitter is today’s biggest “bots impacted” network as people and journalist use it as a source of information. The question is, can they lose credibility because of bot user accounts that are flooding the feeds with offensive content and fake news?
Apparently, people from Twitter have found a way for stopping this plague of bots spreading, reports Washington post.
The feature they have talked about is an additional option which is still in development, and it may never go live, but still, it is one more possibility for fighting against news misuse.
Working on a solution?
The existence of this kind of “flag tab” is still unofficial, but people from the company describes to WP that this flagging function will appear in a drop-down menu alongside tweets.Such a feature is already implemented for other types of offensive content, but a “report as fake” flag would make sense and support the network admins to protect their users from untrue stories.
Such a feature is already implemented for other types of offensive content, but a “report as fake” flag would make sense and support the network admins to protect their users from untrue stories.
On the other hand, Twitter spokeswoman Emily Horne said the company had “no current plans to launch” such a feature but said she would not comment on whether or not there is a test run for it, reports Washington Post. “There are no current plans to launch any type of product along these lines,” she said.
However, we need that flag which could allow us to set apart truth from lies and make sure nobody’s “tweets” jeopardize the users who are reading that. Perhaps even in a visual way like YouTube’s thumbs-up vs. thumbs-down display under user’s videos.
Google and Facebook already working against fake news
While we are waiting for Twitter, even though they don’t have a plan to launch this kind of feature, Google and Facebook are already fighting fake news.
Facebook has tools especially for flagging the false content. The feature works by clicking the tab to dispute the content. If enough people are flagging content, Facebook has people to check facts behind a shared story and possibly remove the post if it proves to be fake news.
When it comes to Google, the user can use the feature from “Featured Snippets,” the little summary boxes that can appear at the top of Google searches. Users can report offensive or untrue content and autocomplete suggestions.
If you notice fake news coming from your country, don’t hesitate, spread the word or use the available tools to report it. Fight it!
Photo credit: Andreas Eldh / Becky Stern / Tom Woodward
Source: Elizabeth Dwoskin (Washington Post) / Hayley Tsukayama (Washington Post)