What Role Does Social Media Play In Fact-Checking?

June 12, 2020

Remember when we talked about how Instagram decided to hide the number of likes a post receives? That was one way for a huge social media company to combat its negative impact of being a popularity contest. Well, Twitter has rolled out a feature too: a fact-checking label affixed to tweets that the company feels are potentially misleading or false. When President Trump recently posted about the integrity of mail-in voting, Twitter added a fact-checking link based on its Civic Integrity policy. According to the policy, Twitter believes that Trump’s post could confuse voters because he seemed to claim that mail-in ballots were not reliable. (Another way Twitter tries to weed out confusing or misleading tweets? They lock accounts and ask people to delete their tweets.) Trump believes that Twitter should not have the authority to decide whether a post is verified or not, and he has threatened to make sure Twitter doesn’t flag his posts again. What does that mean? The President is bringing into question the Communication Decency Act, which protects websites because they rely on people using them with good faith. Do people always use social media in good faith? Perhaps not. But Trump is trying to crack down on social media’s ability to moderate posts, especially since Twitter specifically tagged his tweet for verification.

What do you think? Should people be able to share their opinions without verification on social media? Should politicians be accountable for spreading potentially misleading information? Should social media play a role in fact-checking?