Social media platform Twitter apologized for accidentally labeling some tweets about the COVID-19 pandemic and 5G as misleading.
“In the last few weeks, you may have seen Tweets with labels linking to additional info about COVID-19. Not all of those Tweets had potentially misleading content associating COVID-19 and 5G. We apologize for any confusion and we’re working to improve our labeling process,” the company said on Twitter.
Fox Business reported that Twitter’s announcement comes after users found something about the site’s algorithm. It apparently “prompted a coronavirus fact-check label for any tweet using the words ‘frequency’ and ‘oxygen.’”
Journalist Tim Pool tweeted: “This is a fun new meme. Post anything random about oxygen and frequency and Twitter slaps a weird editorial note on your post. So for example I was scuba diving and the frequency of my breathing cost me too much oxygen and I had to resurface early. See if it works!”
His tweet instantly gained the “get the facts about COVID-19” label. This, then, redirected to a Twitter Moment titled “No, 5G isn’t causing coronavirus.”
A spokesperson for Twitter told Fox Business that “labeling tweets that may contain misleading information continues to be an iterative process.”
“Given the global spread of misinformation and disputed claims around 5G and COVID-19, we prioritized algorithmically labeling tweets with that information, the spokesperson then added. He also mentioned that they will continue to improve the precision of the process. However, they still aim to show “fewer labels on unrelated Tweets,” as per the spokesperson.
“To show context about these topics where it’s likely to be useful, we’re building new automated capabilities to apply these labels to Tweets we think could be relevant,” the company also tweeted.