Twitter to Start Labeling ‘Deceptively Altered’ Photos and Video

Following hot on the heels of Instagram’s new (and at times controversial) “False Information” warning, Twitter has just announced its own policy around labeling and warning users about photos and videos that have been “deceptively altered” and manipulated.

The new policy was revealed in a blog post and a tweet/video released by the @TwitterSafety account:

“We know that some Tweets include manipulated photos or videos that can cause people harm,” reads the video caption. “Today we’re introducing a new rule and a label that will address this and give people more context around these Tweets.”

The rule itself is pretty straightforward:

You may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand the media’s authenticity and to provide additional context.

“Deceptive” images and video will be evaluated on three criteria:

  • Are the media synthetic or manipulated?
  • Are the media shared in a deceptive manner? and;
  • Is the content likely to impact public safety or cause serious harm?

Once something has been identified as “significantly and deceptively altered or fabricated,” Twitter will take one or more of the following steps.

  • Apply a label to the Tweet;
  • Show a warning to people before they Retweet or like the Tweet;
  • Reduce the visibility of the Tweet on Twitter and/or prevent it from being recommended; and/or
  • Provide additional explanations or clarifications, as available, such as a landing page with more context.

“In most cases,” explains Twitter, “we will take all of the above actions on Tweets we label.”

The new rule will go into effect on March 5th, at which point you may start seeing these labels pop up, just like we have on Instagram. And just like Instagram, Twitter expects to make some mistakes along the way as they implement this new rule/policy.

“This will be a challenge and we will make errors along the way — we appreciate the patience,” reads the announcement. “However, we’re committed to doing this right. Updating our rules in public and with democratic participation will continue to be core to our approach.”

To read more about the new policy and how it came about, head over to the Twitter blog. And if you regularly share heavily edited or manipulated photography on Twitter—be they digital art, composites, or something else—be prepared to fall on the wrong side of this rule once or twice before Twitter gets their house in order.


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