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F-Secure comment on Twitter strike system to curb misinformation

March 2021 by Andy Patel, researcher at F-Secure

Following Twitter’s announcement of the strike system to cut down on Twitter Misinformation – Andy Patel, researcher at F-Secure offers this comment:

“While applying labels to misleading content does help inform the public of disinformation, it takes time to track down, fact-check, and flag those pieces of content. Since disinformation tends to spread virally, plenty of users will see and share a piece of content before it has been appropriately labelled. This proposed mechanism also doesn’t take into account the fact that many users of the platform intentionally share disinformation as soon as it is published in order to maximize exposure.

On the subject of the proposed ‘strike’ system, Twitter states “Persistent spreads of fake COVID-19 vaccine content will receive a ’strike’.” They don’t define what persistent – how many times a user publishes a tweet of this nature – means. They also don’t state whether accounts that retweet such content will receive similar lockouts. The account lockouts they’ve mentioned will do nothing to stop the people behind coordinated disinformation networks who are used to creating new accounts in response to lockout or suspension actions. In my opinion, the measures Twitter has proposed will do little to stop the spread of any type of disinformation.”

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