Social networks' lack of action over the spread of misinformation is terrifying

Social networks' lack of action over the spread of misinformation is terrifying

Twitter may have made a few people happy when they banned the accounts of Donald Trump and others in the wake of the attack on the US Capitol that marked the effective end of his Presidency but it was too little too late in the eyes of many with action only being finally taken after an attempted insurrection in the US and multiple deaths.

Unfortunately the social network is lacking in other areas too - and the most dangerous at this time is in it's continual lack of action or tools for users to combat the spread of misinformation.

While it's possible to report accounts and specific Tweets for more personal reasons - personal attacks, worries that someone is about to commit suicide and more - there is shockingly no option to report accounts or Tweets that are intentionally spreading misinformation and outright lies.

The report options for Tweets are nowhere near comprehensive enough.

Balancing freedom of speech - which, on a social network is already a debatable concept - with stemming the rise of misinformation that actually puts people's lives at risk isn't actually that big of a challenge and there are a number of accounts that are clear risks to the wider population. This isn't a problem that is solely at Twitter's door but it is the one they are falling behind more than any others (excepting of course the alt-right havens such as Parler and Gab).

We've all had people share things to our feeds that make us cringe in just how bad they are in terms of spreading misinformation and lies but none of us have the right tools at our disposal to report these accounts and Tweets. It's all well and good copying in @Twitter and complaining but that doesn't kick off an official complaint or reporting process that results in the action of moderators.

Twitter is letting us all down, as are the other social networks - this isn't about removing people's ability to share their opinions, these aren't opinions - they're largely disproven claims, outright lies and extreme conspiracy theories aimed at targeting people who have genuine worries about things such as vaccines and lockdowns.

Often these accounts and associated websites have dubious backers; many times hidden and often funded out of countries that have a history of spreading misinformation and their continued activity on social media is growing evidence that the networks really haven't got a handle on this threat.

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