Over the last few days, the terms #TwitterApoiaFakeNews, #TwitterOmisso, #TwitterCumplice and #TwitterVergonhoso were hashtags that figured – some still are – on Twitter’s trending topics in Brazil.
The main reasons would be the lack of the option to report fake news about the pandemic and the dissatisfaction with the verification of accounts of people who usually publish fake news.
Based on this, the Federal Public Ministry sent a letter in which it questions the platform why this mechanism does not exist to denounce what was not true.
“Inform if measures are being taken so that such reporting functionality is also available to Brazilian users and, if so, what is the expected deadline for its implementation on the platform”, asked the MPF.
Twitter has ten working days to respond starting this Thursday (6). However, before that, the platform has expressed itself on the matter. “Twitter has the challenge of not arbitrating the truth and giving people who use the service the power to expose, oppose and discuss perspectives. This is serving the public conversation.”
The platform also said that it “takes into account specific criteria for taking measures that range from flagging a tweet as misleading to permanently suspending an account.”
Partner at Peck Advogados and a member of the National Council for Data Protection, Patrícia Peck acknowledged that Twitter created policies to restrict misinformation related to Covid-19, adopted at the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020.
“However, it is necessary to provide greater rigor to the application of this policy, that is, Twitter must comply with what it has established and remove or label tweets with ‘fake news’, establishing constant monitoring so that its policy is really effective and capable of fight disinformation”, said the lawyer.
Twitter reported that the fake news reporting tool on the platform is already being tested in the United States, South Korea and Australia. Marcelo Rodrigues, professor of crisis management at ESPM in Rio de Janeiro, highlighted that brands would need to unite and ask for agility in the tool against fake news.
“Companies are worth taking a stand asking Twitter to speed up as a matter of precaution for their image,” he said. “Twitter is quite late in this regard, remembering that we are talking about a social network and the speed of propagation of news”, he added.
The platform, however, said that the tests need to be finalized so that they can be made available to other countries.