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Twitter will check more health experts to fight coronavirus misinformation


The update comes as Twitter has taken more aggressive measures to stem a wave of hoaxes and other misinformation that has spread to social media following the coronavirus pandemic. The company previously announced that it would ban tweets spreading bogus treatment or other inaccurate pseudo-scientific information.

Now, this effort also extends to its verification program, an often difficult subject for the company, which tends to avoid publicly discussing the verification (although many current and former Twitter executives jokingly refer to them inability to verify users in their biography). In a series of tweets, the company said it has audited “hundreds” of accounts, and explained the steps academics and others working for public health organizations or academic institutions can take to ensure their accounts are verified. .

“We prioritize verification for Twitter accounts that have an email address associated with an authoritative organization or institution,” the company said. wrote. “Please also ensure that your Twitter biographies (and links to) the institution you are associated with and that the page you link to includes a reference to your Twitter account.”

A Twitter spokesperson said the company is currently working with partner organizations like the World Health Organization to identify the accounts to be audited.

In addition, the company will “likely” open a publicly available form that will allow health experts to directly request verification from Twitter, according to Twitter product manager Kayvon Beykpour. “We will probably share a link to an admission form soon to be filled out by the experts to request an audit – we’re just working on a way to better separate the likely noise from the signal”, he said.

If Twitter makes a publicly available verification request form available, it will be the first time the company has done so since it officially “suspended” verification in 2017 after being widely criticized for verifying white nationalists. . (Although the company continued to quietly check thousands of new accounts in the years that followed.)

And although the latest measures will only apply to health experts sharing information about the coronavirus, it at least shows that Twitter is ready to take the public notice of the check in certain circumstances.

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