San Francisco, CA — Social media giant Twitter launched a ‘just-in-time’ fact checking service this weeks which aims to “lessen the spread of false and misleading claims” on the Internet. The program, internally called Fact Checker, has been in the works since October of 2016 when Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey promised to clamp-down on fake tweets.
“We are thrilled about this release,” said company spokesperson Bethany Millbright. “Of course there have been ups and downs during our test cycles. Early versions of the program accidentally blocked comedians, health enthusiasts, and for a brief time, the President’s son Eric Trump was blocked due to a few tweets disparaging Jewish people. But after extensive regression testing, we’ve fixed those glitches.”
According to the Twitter, the aim is not to block or ban users, but rather flag and in some cases, rewrite tweets that are “better in-line with reality.”
Although Mr. Dorsey denied accusations that this new program targeted the President.
“Look,” continued Ms. Millbright. “Jack is more interested in transparency than censorship. To his critics that claim fact-checking is a form of censorship, we hear at twitter vigorously reject that charge. Twitter users will be able to compare the ‘fixed’ tweet with its original. We’re not hiding anything. In fact, we think the President will appreciate our spell-checking feature.”
How the New System Works
Twitter offered two of President Trump’s Tweets for comparison. One from December 10th, 2018 which contained a number of spelling, grammatical and factual errors, and one “fixed” one by the Twitter Fact Checker AI with the necessary “corrections.” All “corrected” tweets will feature italic fonts, and a “click to see original tweet” link.
“As you can see,” said Ms. Millbright pointing to the corrected tweet, “the technology vastly improves the tweet reading experience, but it’s certainly not perfect yet, but we’re working on it. We urge all users to select the ‘click to see original tweet’ link if they have any questions.”
The new Fact Checker Twitter feature is not optional, and cannot be disabled in the user’s settings. No word whether other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram plan on offering similar fact-checking tools.