The internet is the perfect place to spread misinformation, and not just the big nonsense conspiracy theories claiming the Earth is flat or that vaccines are bad for you. When something major happens sites with real time feeds like Twitter also turn into a blend of truth, half truth, and outright lies, which is why the social network plans to do something about it. That's why it's going to start broadcasting local news live.
The site will be partnering with select local news services to ensure people are getting information that's factually correct, though the details of who those news organisations are have yet to be revealed. It won't be stopping people from spreading nonsense on its service, whether it's intentional or not, but it does mean it'll get drowned out by something more trustworthy. That is, of course, provided the new footage isn't picking up the nonsense from Twitter and reporting it as fact.
This isn't the first time a social network has leaned on local news in an attempt to combat misinformation. Facebook has pledged to prioritise local news sources in its trending news feed, though the idea behind that was to give people a more personalised look at the world in their local community. Twitter is taking a different approach, as shown by the first implementation of the system on Wednesday.
Wednesday saw streaming footage from Miami’s WSVN 7 as it covered the tragic shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in which 17 people lost their lives. That footage was displayed on user timelines within the US.
Kayvon Beykpour, former Periscope CEO and Twitter's video general manager, told Buzzfeed News:
"We're continuing to work on new ways we can surface credible and relevant information to help people stay informed. By pairing live video with the conversation on Twitter, there is no faster way to see what’s happening in the world."
Anyone clicking the feed will be transferred to a custom timeline, featuring the live footage alongside a feed of tweets selected and organised by an algorithm. Apparently having the two side by side like this leads to an increase in conversation on the platform, and it's hoped that by pairing the two exploitation of the algorithm will be minimised - thereby making it harder for people to deliberately spread misinformation. [Buzzfeed News via Ubergizmo]