Twitter is exploring adding a feature that would let users flag tweets that contain misleading, false, or harmful information, according to two people familiar with the company’s thinking.
The feature, which is still in a prototype phase and may never be released, is part of the company’s uphill battle against rampant abuse on its platform. It could look like a tiny tab appearing in a drop-down menu alongside tweets, according to the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release details of the effort.
Twitter has been plagued by everything such as fake accounts that can be purchased outright for pennies and spread automated messages and false stories. Extremists use the service as a recruiting tool and hate-spewing trolls have threatened women and minorities.
These longstanding problems gained new urgency in the aftermath of the presidential election, when critics and researchers pointed to the toxic effect of social media on the public debate. Two thirds of American adults say fabricated news stories that spread on social media have caused a “great deal of confusion” about basic facts and public events, according to a December 2016 poll from Pew Research Center. One estimate from the service Twitter Audit found that 59 percent President Trump’s follows are bots or fake accounts, while Hillary Clinton’s are 66 percent bots (Twitter does not comment on third party estimates).
Twitter spokeswoman Emily Horne said the company had “no current plans to launch” the feature but said she would not comment on whether it was being tested. “There are no current plans to launch any type of…