Misinformation

Regional News • Americas
Twitter flags Trump post for violating its rules on Covid-19 information
Original tweet with the Twitter disclaimer
Original tweet with the Twitter disclaimer Credit: Donald Trump (Twitter Reproduction)

Twitter flagged a tweed by President Donald Trump in which he claims to be immune to the new coronavirus. Twitter added a disclaimer to the post: "This Tweet violated the Twitter Rules about spreading misleading and potentially harmful information related to COVID-19."

The original post read: "A total and complete sign off from White House Doctors yesterday. That means I can’t get it (immune), and can’t give it. Very nice to know."

Technology • Internet & Web
Nearly half of Twitter accounts pushing to reopen America may be bots
Nearly half of Twitter accounts pushing to reopen America may be bots
Credit: unsplash.com / Brett Jordan

There has been a huge upswell of Twitter bot activity since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, amplifying medical disinformation and the push to reopen America.

Across US and foreign elections, natural disasters, and other politicized events, the level of bot involvement is normally between 10 and 20%, according to Kathleen M. Carley and her team at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Informed Democracy & Social Cybersecurity.

In a new study, the researchers have found that bots may account for between 45 and 60% of Twitter accounts discussing Covid-19. Many of those accounts were created in February and have since been spreading and amplifying misinformation, including false medical advice, conspiracy theories about the origin of the virus, and pushes to end stay-at-home orders and reopen America.

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter adds labels for government and state-affiliated media accounts
Twitter adds labels for government and state-affiliated media accounts
Credit: Russia Today (Twitter Reproduction)

Twitter announced the introduction of labels for accounts and tweets tied to government officials and "state-affiliated media."

In a blog post, the company says: "Twitter provides an unmatched way to connect with, and directly speak to public officials and representatives. This direct line of communication with leaders and officials has helped to democratize political discourse and increase transparency and accountability"

Russia Today (RT) was one of the first accounts to be labelled "affiliated media", with Twitter pointing the ties of the media outlet with the Russian Government.

Twitter suggested that these labels are part of a more significant effort "to protect that discourse because we believe political reach should be earned not bought."

Technology • Internet & Web
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
WhatsApp adds new "Search the web" feature
Credit: WhatsApp

WhatsApp added a new feature that makes it easier for users to verify whether the assertions made in forwarded messages they have received on the app are true. The new feature, called "Search the Web" works by allowing users to upload the message via their browser without WhatsApp ever seeing the message itself.

"Search the web" is being rolled out starting today in Brazil, Italy, Ireland, Mexico, Spain, UK, and US for those on the latest versions of WhatsApp for Android, iOS and WhatsApp Web.

Arts, Entertainment, Culture • Celebrities & Public Figures
Madonna Instagram's post about hydroxychloroquine flagged for sharing 'False Information'
Madonna Instagram's post about hydroxychloroquine flagged for sharing 'False Information'
Credit: Madonna (Instagram)

Instagram flagged on Tuesday a video posted by Madonna as "False Information". The video, about hydroxychloroquine being a cure for Covid-19, spread the same misinformation as a clip that was previously taken down from Twitter after President Donald Trump shared it.

“This woman is my hero,” Madonna wrote in her post. “Thank you Stella Immanuel.”

The post, now deleted, appeared to Instagram users blurred with a warning over the video: "False Information.".

Technology • Internet & Web
Auditors report that Facebook failed civil rights audit over hate speech and misinformation
Auditors report that Facebook failed civil rights audit over hate speech and misinformation
Credit: Joshua Hoehne

The lawyers and civil rights experts Laura Murphy and Megan Cacace have conducted and published a 100-page civil rights audit analyzing how Facebook treats hate speech and misinformation on the platform.

The report states that "it is important to acknowledge that the Civil Rights Audit was a substantive and voluntary process and that the company used the process to listen, plan and deliver on various consequential changes that will help advance the civil rights of its users".

Though the auditors state that Facebook failed "to grasp the urgency" of the problems which will have "direct and consequential implications" on the presidential elections of the United States in November adding that "Facebook has a long road ahead on its civil rights journey".

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Facebook removes accounts linked to Bolsonaro's family
Screenshot of a post by one of the accounts
Screenshot of a post by one of the accounts Credit: Facebook Reproduction

Facebook announced Wednesday the removal of 35 accounts, 14 Pages, 1 Group and 38 Instagram accounts that were involved in coordinated inauthentic behavior in Brazil. Although the people behind this activity attempted to conceal their identities and coordination, Facebook investigation found links to individuals associated with the Social Liberal Party and some of the employees of the offices of Anderson Moraes, Alana Passos, Eduardo Bolsonaro, Flavio Bolsonaro and Jair Bolsonaro.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Fox News publishes, and removes. doctored images of BLM demonstrations
Reproduction of the Seattle Times comparison of the images
Reproduction of the Seattle Times comparison of the images Credit: Seatle Times (Reproduction)

Fox News has removed from its website digitally doctored images of Seattle’s so-called “Autonomous Zone” after The Seattle Times reported on the misleading pictures.

The misleading material ran alongside stories about a small expanse of city blocks in Seattle that activists have claimed as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone.

After the removal of the images, Fox News wrote on their site "Fox News regrets these errors.".

Technology • Internet & Web
Twitter removes China-linked accounts spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and Hong Kong
Twitter removes China-linked accounts spreading misinformation about Covid-19 and Hong Kong
Credit: Sara Kurfeß

Twitter suspended 23,750 accounts that were posting pro-Beijing narratives, and another 150,000 dedicated to retweeting and amplifying those messages.

According to Twitter: "Despite the volume, the core 23,750 accounts we are publishing to the archive were largely caught early and failed to achieve considerable traction on the service, typically holding low follower accounts and low engagement. Of the approximately 150,000 amplifier accounts, the majority had little to no follower counts either and were strategically designed to artificially inflate impression metrics and engage with the core accounts."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian Senate to vote new law criminalising the usage of fake accounts in social networks
Brazilian Senate session
Brazilian Senate session Credit: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado

Brazil's Senate is going to vote today a new law to criminalise the usage of fake accounts and bots on social networks.

The proposal, presented by senator Alessandro Vieira and representatives Felipe Rigoni and Tabata Amaral, establishes that platforms face sanctions if they don’t provide transparent reports, do not label bots, or don’t highlight corrections coming from independent fact-checkers.

Expressing concerns about the proposal, Flávia Lefèvre, a counselor of the Brazilian internet steering committee, stated: “All counsellors are overly concerned with this proposal. It could compromise one of the principles that are in the decalogue of the internet and in article 14 of [Brazil’s internet bill of rights], which is the non-liability of the network provider. This is a principle that guarantees freedom of expression and prevents censorship”.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Trump signs executive order aimed at social media companies
Donald J. Trump participates in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in the East Room of the White House.
Donald J. Trump participates in a Cabinet meeting Tuesday, May 19, 2020, in the East Room of the White House. Credit: The White House from Washington, DC / Public domain

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday aimed at limiting the legal protection enjoyed by social media companies. the executive order comes two days after Twitter labelled two of his tweets "potentially misleading".

Twitter criticised the executive order on a statement late Thursday: "This EO is a reactionary and politicized approach to a landmark law. #Section230 protects American innovation and freedom of expression, and it’s underpinned by democratic values. Attempts to unilaterally erode it threatens the future of online speech and Internet freedoms."

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Brazilian president criticise Supreme Court investigation of allies for alleged fake news
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro Credit: Marcos Corrêa/PR

President Jair Bolsonaro stated on Thursday that a Brazil's Supreme Court investigation into a fake news network was actually aimed at silencing his social media support.

Brazil's Federal Police on Wednesday executed more than two dozen searches and seizure warrants in six states as part of an investigation into a network that allegedly spread defamatory fake news and threats against Supreme Court justices.

Technology • Internet & Web
Mark Zuckerberg criticizes Twitter for new fact-checking feature
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the White House in 2019
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the White House in 2019 Credit: The White House from Washington, DC (Public Domain)

In an interview with Fox News, Mark Zuckerberg criticised Twitter for its new fact-checking feature, stating “private companies probably shouldn’t be, especially these platform companies, shouldn’t be in the position of doing that". He furthermore added that he believes that "Facebook shouldn’t be the arbiter of truth of everything that people say online".

In a serious of tweets, Twitter's Jack Dorsey responded to Zuckerberg, writing: "We’ll continue to point out incorrect or disputed information about elections globally. [...] This does not make us an “arbiter of truth.” Our intention is to connect the dots of conflicting statements and show the information in dispute so people can judge for themselves. More transparency from us is critical so folks can clearly see the why behind our actions."

Regional News • Americas • United States
Twitter tags Trump tweet with fact-checking warning label for first time
Screenshot of Trump's Tweet begin tagged with "Get the facts about mail-in ballots"
Screenshot of Trump's Tweet begin tagged with "Get the facts about mail-in ballots" Credit: Donald J. Trump via Twitter

Twitter added a fact-checking warning label to a tweet by President Donald Trump on Tuesday, and this is the first time the social media platform has used such a warning for Trump's tweets.

In two tweets, Trump alleged that mail-in ballots would be "substantially fraudulent" and result in a "Rigged Election.". Now both of the tweets have a label stating, "Get the facts about mail-in ballots." and a link leading to a page saying the president's tweets are not true.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Sleeping Giants in Brazil reaches 140,000 followers and aims to cut revenue from sites promoting misinformation
Capture of site targeted by Sleeping Giants
Capture of site targeted by Sleeping Giants Credit: Sleeping Giants Brasil

Sleeping Giants Brasil, the Brazilian profile of the activists' organization Sleeping Giants reached 140,000 followers on Twitter since its launch less than a week ago.

The profile alerted local companies such as Dell, TIM Brasil, Telecine, Submarino, PicPay, Banco do Brasil, and Phillips about their programmatic media on sites spreading misinformation.