Techdirt's think tank, the Copia Institute, is working with the Trust & Safety Professional Association and its sister organization, the Trust & Safety Foundation, to produce an ongoing series of case studies about content moderation decisions. These case studies are presented in a neutral fashion, not aiming to criticize or applaud any particular decision, but to highlight the many different challenges that content moderators face and the tradeoffs they result in. Find more case studies here on Techdirt and on the TSF website.

Content Moderation Case Study: Twitter Attempts To Tackle COVID-Related Vaccine Misinformation (2020)

from the dealing-with-covid-misinfo dept

Summary: Following on its efforts in tamping down on election-related misinformation, Twitter's latest moderation efforts target misleading posts about COVID and the coronavirus, with a specific focus on vaccine related information.

Despite being months into a global pandemic, there has been a lack of clear, consistent communication from all levels of government in the United States, which has given conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccination activists plenty of room to ply their dubious trades. Twitter is hoping to reduce exposure to tweets containing misleading information as the nation continues to deal with multiple COVID outbreaks.

Since early in the pandemic, Twitter had been aggressive in moderating misleading content regarding how the virus spreads, unproven remedies and treatments, and other health related info. Its new policy expands on that, mainly to focus on false information and conspiracy theories regarding vaccines.

Twitter won't be limiting itself to applying warnings to tweets with dubious content. The platform will force users to delete tweets that don't comply with its expanded code of conduct. Added to restrictions on misinformation about the spread of the disease and its morbidity rates are bans on false claims about immunization safety or COVID's dangers.

Decisions for Twitter:

  • If there are actual stories of harm or side effects from vaccines, how will Twitter distinguish those reports from the conspiracy theories?
  • Who will Twitter consider to be trusted sources for determining which information is factual, and which are conspiracy theories?
  • Is there an effective way to teach users that they are sharing false information, rather than simply banning them?
Questions and policy implications to consider:
  • Does moderating COVID conspiracy theories inadvertently lend "credence" to conspiracy theorists?
  • Does more direct moderation of certain content invite even more Congressional scrutiny and calls for direct government regulation?
  • Will human moderation help mitigate possible collateral damage to "good faith" users who aren't aware they're spreading misinformation?

Resolution: Twitter's expanded ban on misinformation is crafted to specifically target conspiracy theories about vaccinations or the disease's existence. The site will use a combination of AI and human moderators to determine whether flagged tweets should be labeled as questionable or removed entirely. Repeat violators can expect to have their accounts suspended or deleted.

The company also suggests that in early 2021 it will likely expand this fight against vaccine misinformation by placing warnings or labels on content that is unsubstantiated, disputed, or without necessary context.

Originally posted to the Trust & Safety Foundation website.

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Filed Under: content moderation, covid, disinformation, misinformation, vaccines
Companies: twitter


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Andrea Iravani, 10 Feb 2021 @ 9:09pm

    Coincidences in book of Isaiah and what is currently happening? 1) Book of Isaiah refers to two kings of Israel and Netenyagu and Gantz are sharing the presidency. 2) Fires raging destroying cities and nations. 3.) Destruction of and toppling of statues. 4.) Plans to make people more rare than gold and diamonds. Club of Rome wants less than a billion people and vaccines are killing people. On November 16, 2020 the US had 2,487,350 total deaths. On December 22, 2020 there were 3.2 million total deaths after vaccine roll out, meaning that there were 712,650 total deaths between November 16th and December 22. Although deaths are always highest during the holiday season, it is not by such a staggering amount.  5.) Total immorality. 6.) Mass deception and oppression by rulers. 7.) Mass rebellion by ruling class and society. 8.) Isaiah 13:9 and Dark Winter repeatededly referrenced by the ruling class. "Behold, the day of the Lord comes, cruel with anger, to make the land a desolation and to destroy its sinners from it. For the stars of the heavens and constellations will not give their light, the sun will be dark from its rising, and the moon will not shed its light. " Isaiah 13:9 -13:10 9.) Plans for the wealthy to divide nations assets for themselves as Agenda 21 and The Great Reset policies favor. I hope that everyone will take the time to read the Book of  Isaiah, whether they are religious or not, because it would  appear that some people are re-enacting it and intend to go  through with a massive depopulation plan with vaccines and  famine.  Read it. Recognize what is happening. Stop it. They are not Gods. They are megalomaniacs!  Andrea Iravani

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 10 Feb 2021 @ 9:12pm

      Please seek help for your mental health issues.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Feb 2021 @ 11:11pm

      Re:

      "They are not Gods. They are megalomaniacs!"

      I'm confused, I know that's an accurate description of the main character in the old testament of the biggest selling fiction book in history, but as I recall there was only one of him. Who else are you referring to?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Toom1275 (profile), 10 Feb 2021 @ 11:23pm

        Re: Re:

        Republicans.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 4:53am

        Re: Re:

        Klaus Schwab Great Reset author and Bill Gates Event 201 host and vax pusher through WHO and Gavi primarily is who I am referring to. Can't blame David Rockefeller since he is dead. I just took it for grated that it was common knowledge. Then again, people in Florida mistook Trident II missiles for alien space ships, so I guess that over estimating peoples level of general knowledge and intelligence is something that I have been doing and have to stop doing. Andrea Iravani

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 5:16am

          Re: Re: Re:

          So, too dumb to understand sarcasm, believes every random conspiracy theory no matter how stupid, ties this all into religion no matter how tenuous the link and doesn't understand how signing names on a forum works - but believe s they're smarter than everyone else?

          It's true what the say - the first rule of Dunning-Kruger Club is that you don't know you're in it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 5:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            If it makes you feel better to believe what you just said, go ahead. Why would I care what you think? I do not know what you mean by saying does not know how signing names on a forum works. I know that when I used pseudonyms, people pkagiarized me and tried to assume my identity, and tried to falsely profit from my intellectual property.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 5:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Why would I care what you think?"

              I don't know or care, I'm just responding to a fool on a public forum for my own entertainment.

              "I do not know what you mean by saying does not know how signing names on a forum works"

              Look above your posts and see your name there. Then understand why you look like an idiot for putting it at the end.

              "I know that when I used pseudonyms, people pkagiarized me and tried to assume my identity"

              They tried to assume an identity... that you made up as a fiction to hide behind? Hmmm...

              "tried to falsely profit from my intellectual property"

              If that work is as high quality and based in reality as what you're writing here, I assume they failed to profit, and not because they didn't try.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                identicon
                Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                I am Andrea Iravani and Iwould like to inform you of the following: I did not create a pseudonym to have a fiction to hide behind. I commented on issues that are of interest to me then, just as I do now. I did not try to decieve anyone then, just as I do not try to decieve anyone now. Andrea Iravani

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:18am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Are you Andrea Iravani, by any chance? I hear that Andrea Iravani has an obsessive need to keep repeating their own name even when it's not remotely necessary to do so. Andrea Iravani.

                  "I did not create a pseudonym to have a fiction to hide behind"

                  pseudonym
                  [ sood-n-im ]

                  noun
                  a fictitious name used by an author to conceal his or her identity; pen name.

                  Hmmm...

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                    identicon
                    Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:59am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Obviously, you are trying to conceal your identity by only using a very popular first name and a last initial. Why are you so obsessed with me using my name? Out of all of the things in the world for a total stranger to be concerned about, it seems like kind of a strange obsession and priority of yours on your list of things to do. If you disagree with my original post go ahead. You will not be sent to a re-education camp by me for disagreeing with me. Andrea Iravani

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                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 7:08am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "Why are you so obsessed with me using my name?"

                      I'm taking the piss out of an idiot who can't stop writing it, and trying to work out if this is an act or if you are actually this mentally challenged.

                      "If you disagree with my original post go ahead."

                      I have, and I will. As will most sane people.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
                  identicon
                  Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:22am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  P.S. Maybe you do not understand the way that signals intelligence and comminications and interceptions work. Since I have been a vitim of it for a long time, I probably understand some things that you have no idea about, even if you are in tech. Andrea Iravani

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:46am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    "I probably understand some things that you have no idea about"

                    Hey, if you'd like to talk about those instead of playing a self-obsessed religious conspiracy nut online, I'm all for it. Although, be warned, I like my conversations to take place within verifiable reality.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 6:48am

                    I probably understand some things that you have no idea about

                    And if any of things had to do with actual reality instead of the delusional headspace in which you obviously live, maybe that would mean something.

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 5:39am

    If it makes you feel better to believe what you just said, go ahead. Why would I care what you think? Andrea Iravani

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 8:37am

      Re:

      What do you think about the dissemination of content, on twitter and elsewhere, that is demonstrably wrong?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 9:59am

        Re: Re:

        What Twitter and Facebook as well as NewsGuard have been claiming is the truth is almost always wrong. Facebook has censored expert virologists as well as the former CEO of Pfizer who happen to be able to scientifically prove that Twitter, Facebook, and NewsGuard are the ones that are spreading outright lies, and the majority of the media is as well. The truth is hard to come by. Almost everyone in the media is a propagandist, because it is paid speech. With subscriptions that do not charge, there is not enoigh revelue in the advertising end. I recall debating about this with people prior to the WWW in 1992. They said that it would be eyeballs and ad revenues, which made no sense. News papers and magazines always had ads. So, they thought that they would use the radio or tv business model, which I knew nothing about, but now I believe that it is primarily funded by the DoD. Maybe I am wrong on that, but think of the enormous contracts that people like Rush Limaugh recieved. So, is it the DoD, or the RNC that is financing his salary? Andrea Iravani

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:03am

          Yes or no: Do you work for Marjorie Taylor Greene?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 11 Feb 2021 @ 10:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "have been claiming is the truth is almost always wrong"

          I said demonstrably.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
            identicon
            Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 1:34pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It seems that they initially intended to walk away with enormoys gains with the internet shutting down from Y2K, which did not happen, and then attempted to shut it down with the controlled demolition od the World Trade Towers, 1996 being a practice run, whoch did not happen either, then in October of 2014, Obama issued a space weather warning that could destroy the internet, which I pointed out that the WWW is world wide, the internet is not in one place, it is stored in satwlites as well, and fiber optic cable is impervious to EMP attacks, then it was revealed they they planned on SOP 303 to shut communications down under martial rule and the FBI was orchestrated the 1/6 event working with Q Shahman as a manchurian candidate that they cultivated, as they typically do, in addition to Proud Boys, QAnon, who I strongly believe is Christopher Wray who was a WANO attorney who would have energy clearance, and appointed FBI director roght before QAnon appeared, but SOP 303 pkans were revealed by Global Research who has also been fantastic with the scamdemic. The thing is that I have noticed that certain sites have typically had a specific or even multi-specific areas with exceptional credability, and other areas that credability is much less reliable and is more propaganda. With Global Research, the prominent areas happens to be extremely pro-China, and extremely anti-US, to the point of pkacing sole blame on the US that all of NATO was often not only involved in, but the US did at NATOs request. The world is a disaster and everyone is looking for a fall guy. Andrea Iravani

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  • icon
    Glass It LLC (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 1:53pm

    Lets just go back to non-official tweets

    Content moderation is made harder when official policy is tweeted instead of delivered through proper channels.

    Now as for "an effective way to teach users that they are sharing false information, rather than simply banning them?". You have to realize that some users are using comedy where appropriate, while others just say inappropiate things that are funny. Either way, too much censoring and you effectively tweet yourself out of the platform..

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Andrea Iravani, 11 Feb 2021 @ 2:02pm

    Now RFK Jr. has had his Instagram account shut down by Facebook. So, Assange is in prison, a sitting president was deplatformed from Twitter, and now RFK Jr. a national hero has been deplatformed in addition to many others that most people have never even heard of. Society cannot function if the choices are being a fool, willful ignorance, lying, or being punished. It is a recipe for disaster. What are parents supposed to tell children? Everyone is lying, including your teachers, the police, the government, the media, the corporations, and the financial institutions are all lying to you? How is that supposed to work? It cannot work. They have to stop the pathological lying!

    Andrea Iravani

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Glass It LLC (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 2:06pm

      Re:

      I think we just asses the situation, tell our children the truth. Wow didn't know that about RFK Jr. Let's not forget the My Pillow Guy...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 2:36pm

      What are parents supposed to tell children?

      “Nobody has a right to use social media, some people can be massive assholes, and that Andrea lady is battier than Bruce Wayne.”

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 11 Feb 2021 @ 11:17pm

      Re:

      "What are parents supposed to tell children?"

      Watch out for Andrea Iravani, what a loon?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 2:47am

        Re: Re:

        "Watch out for Andrea Iravani, what a loon?"

        What really bugs me about the conspiracy theorists is, I think, that they can't just settle for one religious belief. They mix-and-match to the point where most Iranian Mullahs and american pulpit thumpers come off as comparative pillars of reason and proportionality.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 4:47am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yeah, this seems to be a textbook example of such. They've latched on to numerous conspiracy theories, decided that random samplings of the bible proves they're right, and seem immune to people telling them they might be wrong in certain ways.

          This particular person is so ridiculous that I still haven't decided if they're trolling, but it's worth some gentle mocking to help others understand that there's no basis in reality.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 12 Feb 2021 @ 7:00am

          What really bugs me about the conspiracy theorists is, I think, that they can't just settle for one religious belief.

          Wanna know the irony there? People primed to accept religious texts as inerrant factual truth and never question the truth of those texts (or those who preach from those texts) are more susceptible to believing conspiracy theories than anyone else.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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