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Help On The Media ‘Fix Twitter’

There’s been a lot of moaning about misinformation on Twitter the past few weeks; myself and other 10,000 Words contributors have done our fair share of kvetching. 

But the team over at the On The Media podcast are actually trying to do something about it. In a short segment in this week’s podcast, which you can listen to here, they’re asking listeners to help ‘fix Twitter.’

When news breaks, it’s commonplace to just tweet and retweet what people are reporting, and then find out later that the information was totally wrong. The problem is that most organizations or individuals will either delete the tweet, or correct it another one. We all know the scrolling feed moves at a breakneck pace, and sometimes the correct tweet can be overlooked. Meanwhile, the incorrect one is left to be found by users later on in someone’s feed and the cycle of misinformation continues. 

So, there has to be a way for people to tweet to-be-confirmed information that fits into the overall Twitter aesthetic and that sticks with the original tweet itself, so that the “not yet confirmed” status of the information doesn’t get lost in the ether. 

On the Media host (and editor…) Brooke Gladstone suggested a question mark. The punctuation fits into the lexicon of Twitter — it’s just one character. But, as they point out in the segment, that mark could potentially be deleted in retweets. OTM producer PJ Vogt suggested a ‘flag’ function, that would immediately gray out a tweet that needs to be corroborated. Then as he puts it, the ‘onus is on the reader’ to seek out more information. 

Got any good ideas? Head over to the OTM Blog and leave a good suggestion — the comments are already filling up withpretty good ideas ranging from the highly technical to simple key-worded hashtags that journalists could propagate. 

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