Twitter is starting to fact check tweets that mention 5G-coronavirus conspiracy theories in an effort to curb misinformation.
Over the weekend, the company began placing the fact-check on tweets that mention 5G and the word “corona.” Under the tweet, a link will appear that says “Get the facts about COVID-19.” If you click on it, you’ll then be redirected to a Twitter page that declares “No, 5G isn’t causing coronavirus, with tweets to news stories and videos debunking the conspiracy theory.
The labels are part of a plan Twitter announced last month to rein in less harmful forms of coronavirus misinformation. The company has already been removing dangerous COVID-19 conspiracy theories that can cause destruction or death, including encouraging people to burn down 5G cell towers. But for other disputed claims about the virus, the company has elected to place fact-checks and warning labels, depending on the content’s severity.
“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 told PCMag.
Indeed, the company appears to be applying the labels indiscriminately at the moment, including on this tweet, which simply mention 5G and the Corona beer brand. Twitter also pointed out the labeling itself isn’t exactly a fact-check, but merely a link to more authoritative information about the virus. Whether anyone clicks on the link is up to the user.
“To be clear we are not ‘fact checking’ the content of the tweet itself. The label is applied to provide additional context from credible sources to people on our service regarding the information they might come across,” the company’s spokesperson said.
Not everyone is a fan of the approach. Last month, President Trump claimed the labels amounted to censorship after Twitter decided to fact check two of his tweets that contained misinformation about mail-in voting. In response, Trump has launched an all-effort to regulate social media companies, accusing them of holding a bias against conservatives. However, Twitter says the White House is trying to erode free speech rights.