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Twitter Seeks to Curb Misinformation During Periods of Crisis With Warning Notices

The new policy focuses on misinformation during a "widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence."

Twitter's new policy will aim to slow down viral misinformation.
Sarah Tew/CNET

Twitter introduced a new policy that aims to tamp down viral misinformation during times of crisis, the company said in a blog post Thursday. The social network will now suppress misleading tweets found to include false coverage of the events of a crisis, false allegations of war crimes or use of force, and false information regarding crisis response, Twitter's head of safety and integrity, Yoel Roth, wrote in the post. 

Twitter will place warning notices over "highly visible" misleading tweets as well as misinformation from high profile accounts. Twitter users will still be able to click through the notice to view the tweet. The warning notices will say that, while the hidden tweet has violated Twitter's policies around misinformation, it won't be deleted for "accountability purposes."

To label a claim as misleading, Twitter will rely on "verification from multiple credible, publicly available sources, including evidence from conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more," the company said. The policy also makes exceptions for "strong commentary, efforts to debunk or fact check, and personal anecdotes or first person accounts."

The policy will initially focus on international armed conflicts where there is a "widespread threat to life, physical safety, health, or basic subsistence," but it could expand.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk last month reached a $44 billion deal to purchase Twitter but recently has cast doubt on the transaction. Musk, who has more than 94 million followers, has been critical of Twitter's moderation policies, saying there should be very little moderation of what can and can't be said on the social network.