Information and disinformation. Two exceedingly polarising faces of the same coin. Right? The former can lead to education, illumination, brightening of lives and even, liberation, while the latter can be a mayhem-maker; can lead to uncontrollable and even, irreversible damage. How you control information goes a long way to control the dissemination of fake information as well- don’t you agree?
And in an age where there are nearly as many platforms to spread information as the actual quantum of information itself, there’s this big real menace that confronts us all: fake news!
While on the one hand, the entire social media experience can be a liberating one, it can also, on the other hand, lead to destruction all thanks to none keeping a tab on fake information or false news.
Put something false on an e-mail, as an instance, addressed to a set of company employees and you can catch hold of the wrong-doer and put him or her to task. But how do you control the situation when it spirals out of control especially on social media, for there are nearly countless entry points there- right?
That being precisely the concern, rather the uphill task in front of all major social media platforms today has led to an alarming situation where all giants, be it Facebook or Twitter are pushing the envelope to prevent the spread of fake news.
But let’s talk of Twitter, in particular, and attempt to understand what exactly is the Jack Dorsey-led platform trying to prevent the spread of fake news for millions of its users?
Before we launch further into this interesting debate, it’s important to note that as a conscious decision, Twitter is trying all it possibly can to promote the concept of informed decision making. The process where you are aware and informed about a topic, subject, debate, idea, thought before you add the concept of virality to it, by tweeting about it.
Harmful content, or misleading content, as some call it, is the biggest menace out there.
According to a report published on a leading tech platform, the following developments highlight Twitter’s set of determined actions:
To help promote informed discussion and reduce the spread of fake, harmful content, Twitter will very soon launch a new prompt on Android for the users to open and read the article first before retweeting. After a small experiment with a set of users, Twitter found that people open articles 40 per cent more often after seeing the prompt.
“People opening articles before RTing increased by 33 per cent,” the company said in a tweet on Thursday.
Some people didn’t end up RTing after opening the article, which was fine for Twitter as “some Tweets are best left in drafts”. In June, Twitter introduced a test feature on Android to promote “informed discussion” on the platform. If a user decides to retweet a write-up without opening the link and reading it, Twitter would prompt him or her to read it first before sharing.
“To help promote informed discussion, we’re testing a new prompt on Android –– when you Retweet an article that you haven’t opened on Twitter, we may ask if you’d like to open it first”.
Kayvon Beykpour, who is Product Lead at Twitter, said that it’s easy for links/articles to go viral on Twitter.
All of that told, the key point of view, one would think in regards to fake news is that there’s always the quotient of morality. Think for an extra second about the damage you could end up causing before giving birth to a fake idea or piece of development deliberately. What positive can it ever cause? If we all became conscious and mindful of the information we consume and choose to partake in, on platforms like Twitter, it may end up helping everyone.
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