Twitter’s recent maneuvers during the US Election process have resulted in an overall reduction in the amplification of misleading posts and falsified claims

Before the US Election, Twitter had implemented several changes on its platform which included warning labels for disputed tweets and prompts to make people stop and read the post before retweeting it. Some other measures like the removal of the Retweet option in the US were also implemented to curb the spread of misinformation and propaganda related to the mail-in-voting process, premature election results, and to curb the unrest that was bound to happen on the platform after the election.

Now, Twitter has shared some insights about the impact of all these measures, and surprisingly, and pleasantly, it seems that all these efforts of Twitter paid off. There has been a remarkable reduction in the amplification of misinforming claims, and this also shows that in the future also, Twitter can influence the user behavior trends for the betterment!

According to Twitter’s report, almost around 300,000 tweets were labeled as ‘Disputed’ under Twitter’s Civic Integrity Policy for controversial content that could be misleading by all means. Around 456 of these labeled tweets also had a warning message, and limited engagement features, such as a ‘Like’ option only instead of a ‘Quote Tweet’ option.

Now, it has been noticed that around 74% of the users viewed these labeled tweets and read the warning message along with it. This means that the labels and warning messages were not ignored by the majority of people, which a good sign.

There was a 29% decrease in quoting these labeled tweets, which is again, a good sign. At least out of the 74% of the people who viewed these tweets, around 29% did pay heed and stopped quoting those disputed tweets. This also means that there has been an almost 29% reduction in the amplification of misleading and misinforming tweets and articles.

Now, this whole practice suggests that the behavior of users can be controlled and influenced to some extent with simple alerts and messages also, and they can be prompted to ‘think’ before they ‘leap’ to interact with each other. So, that is an encouraging thing for social platforms like Twitter where it is generally believed that no amount of content moderation can reap results because user behavior cannot be changed. Twitter has proved this general perception wrong.

Twitter’s action to remove the Retweet option for the US users and use the Quote Tweet option instead also led to a 23% decrease in retweeting of misinforming content and a 26% increase was noticed in Quote Tweets. This change was actually brought to encourage people to put in their own thoughts after reading a tweet before sharing it with others, instead of just sharing it without ever giving it a proper read first.

The removal of in-feed recommendations like ‘Liked by’ or ‘Followed by’ recommendations did not have any significant result, as reported by Twitter. So, Twitter is reversing both these elements now, but this approach may change regarding the topics that users will be interested in.

So, in a gist, the election process proved to be a great experiment for Twitter, and other social platforms can also use these measures to stop the spread of misinformation in the future.


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