Twitter COVID-19 errors; the regret of Jack Dorsey; small victory mask

The labeling of COVID-19 misinformation on Twitter has given the company even more trouble as it made literally dozens of embarrassing mistakes this week. He has erroneously applied the label to the actually correct tweets of doctors and scientists, in some cases suspending their accounts.

Twitter has apologized to those affected and promised to review its procedures to avoid a repeat…

Twitter COVID-19 errors

The Washington Post reports:

Over the past week, Twitter has labeled dozens of tweets containing factual information about COVID-19 as misinformation, and in some cases suspended the accounts of doctors, scientists and patient advocates in response to their messages warning people of the dangers of the disease.

Since then, many tweets have had disinformation tags removed and suspended accounts reinstated. […]

Some users have received messages from Twitter apologizing for the error. “Our support team has reviewed your account and appears to have made a mistake,” the email reviewed by The Post said. “We have determined that the tweets do not violate our policy on misleading information about Covid-19 and therefore your account should be restored to full functionality. We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience and hope to see you back on Twitter soon.

While the social network has corrected these errors, concerns have been raised that this is what fuels the conspiracy theories.

“We know that when good information is flagged as false, people are less likely to think it is true, even if it turns out to be true,” said Emily Vraga, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota. She added that prolonged misuse of the label could also cause users to completely distrust Twitter’s disinformation systems, rendering the label useless.

The article cites a number of experts who say this week was not an isolated incident, but has been happening for at least several months.

Jack Dorsey regrets turning Twitter into a business

Company founder Jack Dorsey says he regrets turning Twitter into a business, even though he should receive nearly $1 billion if the deal with Musk goes through. He makes the comment in response to a question about what he thinks about the turn of events.

The biggest problem and my biggest regret is that it has become a business.

When asked what he would like instead, he said it’s becoming clearer every day that it has to be an internet protocol like email, not an object that could be owned by a company or government.

Elon Musk wins in minor courts

Elon Musk, who promised to buy Twitter for $44 billion before trying to back out of the deal, won a small victory in court.

Although he agreed to waive his right to due diligence (i.e. verifying the veracity of the company’s claims) in exchange for a quick sale, Musk later claimed he was misled by Twitter about the number of spambots. He then demanded that the company hand over a huge amount of data to him so that he could conduct his own analysis.

The court denied Musk’s request for three years of data on 200 million accounts, but instead ordered Twitter to hand over data on 9,000 accounts it verified to arrive at a figure of 5% bots.

More Likely Security Investigations

Several investigations are underway in Twitter’s security system following claims by the company’s former security chief of “extreme and egregious flaws”.

The Senate Judiciary Committee launched an investigation in the US, with separate announcements in Ireland and France. This should be followed by investigations in other countries.

Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

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