X/Twitter: New Blue Tick Policy Fuels Misinformation

Since the launch of X, formerly known as Twitter, in 2006, journalists have been using the platform to communicate with your subscribers and collect information to the general public for their reports.

However, when April, the platform transformed blue tick, its historical management tool, to a paid service that no longer takes into account user activity, awareness or authenticity, it has become much more it’s hard distinguish reliable sources from usurpers or frauds. Formerly Twitter Blue, this paid subscription service now called X Premium.

“[X] becomes [rapidement] a certified location for unverified users,” he claims Ewuji Precious, a freelance journalist in Nigeria. “To some extent, people will trust people with blue ticks on their profiles, regardless of the veracity or authenticity of their posts, over content from journalists who don’t.

Here’s what journalists need to know about these new rules and how they encourage the spread of misinformation.

The new blue tick policy and disinformation

Previously, X users requested a blue tick through the free verification request process, which required accounts to be “authentic, identifiable and active.” It was often accessed by government officials and entities, celebrities, activists, news outlets, journalists and many others.

“The blue checkmark indicated that it had been verified by users, so it can be trusted,” explains Betty Mbayofact checker and co-founder Media Internship in Liberia. By contrast, today any user can pay $8 a month to have a blue checkmark attached to their name.

Since then, the false information has proliferated. For example, a study conducted by the Quant Lab at the Center for Combating Digital Hate. revealed that more than 25% of tweets related to Ukraine, vaccines and climate change by X Premium subscribers were false information.

The disinformation that may have spread has already had real consequences. During the conflict in Sudan, the country’s main paramilitary force is the Rapid Support Force (RSF). lost the blue tick. A fake account with a blue checkmark presented itself as a militant group and falsely claimed that its leader, Mohamed Dagalo, was dead. This message has been viewed 1.7 million times in a short time. The fake account was later deleted.

In another example, several fake accounts were posted by a Kenyan news and entertainment television channel Citizen TV Kenya., and published fake news. One ofbetween themwhich was then suspendedclaimed that Dr SK Machariafounder and president Royal Media Services, the owner of a TV channel, was declared dead. The news spread until Citizen TV Kenya debunked it X And Facebook.

“Algorithm[X] prefers people with [X Premium], which allows you to be at the top of the exchanges. When you comment or tweet, you are more visible,” explains Nigerian newspaper journalist Alfred Olufemi. PUNCH.

Fighting misinformation about X

Journalists are dealing with more and more misinformation about X, so they need to take extra precautions before sharing content. “Journalists should avoid engaging in activism and sharing their beliefs, as this can damage their credibility, which is a core value,” he believes. Lois Ugbedefact checker Dubava.

Mi Ugbede called on journalists to “check the facts before sharing them”, maintain the trust of other users and avoid spreading misinformation. “People share tweets because they believe the information in them is true,” she recalls. “One way to combat this is for journalists to know the source of the information and have networks (e.g.Africa Facts Networknetwork of fact-checking organizations in Africa) where they can access data.

Journalists can also use tools such as Spoonbill, Pipl.com, AI detectoramong others, to verify the authenticity of information about X, according to Busola Ajibola, Deputy Director Journalism program of the Center for Innovation and Development of Journalism.

“These tools allow us to identify certain information disseminated by users [X] and they usually help reveal who is behind the tweets and whether the account is authentic,” she says. “Primarily, they help us know where and when the accounts were created to determine whether it’s a parody or a legitimate account.”

Photo from Bastian Riccardi enabled Reveal the splash.

Hubert Gildon

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