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Twitter to work with AP and Reuters to provide more context around disputed topics

Twitter is working with news agencies the Associated Press and Reuters to more proactively combat misinformation on its platform, the company has announced. The platform’s internal teams already work to explain and add context to Twitter content, but it says the two news agencies will help provide more authoritative information, especially when facts are in dispute.

In particular, Twitter says it wants to be more proactive about providing accurate information on topics as they develop, before misinformation emerges. “Rather than waiting until something goes viral, Twitter will contextualize developing discourse at pace with or in anticipation of the public conversation,” the platform says. Reuters and the Associated Press will also provide feedback on fact-checking provided via Twitter’s crowd-sourced Birdwatch program, which is currently in a pilot phase.

The collaboration is an expansion of Twitter’s existing attempts to stop misinformation from spreading on its platform. The company’s Curation team already adds explanatory content to trending topics and certain misleading tweets, and will surface authoritative information when users search for specific terms, or during major events like elections or public health emergencies. But Twitter says the new partnerships will help “when Twitter’s Curation team doesn’t have the specific expertise or access to a high enough volume of reputable reporting on Twitter.”

It will be the first time Twitter has formally collaborated with news agencies to provide accurate information on its site, the company tells Reuters. Associated Press and Reuters already work with Facebook to fact-check content on its platform, BBC News notes.

Twitter says its collaboration with the two news agencies will be separate from the work done by its own enforcement teams, and that neither Associated Press nor Reuters will be deciding whether tweets break Twitter’s rules.

The new partnerships come as social media platforms are facing intense scrutiny from regulators for the amount of misinformation they spread. The problem has become particularly acute in light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, in which misinformation about the virus and now its vaccines has spread online. Last month, US surgeon general Vivek Murthy called on platforms to do more to combat coronavirus misinformation, including redesigning their algorithms to avoid amplifying it.



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