Twitter has started tests with a new label for "good bots". This allows automated accounts to clearly identify themselves as such. The label is intended for bots that share, for example, Covid 19 updates, earthquake information or royalty-free material from museums. It remains to be seen how much this approach will help, because conspiracy theorists, climate deniers and the like are unlikely to voluntarily label their false info bots.
More clarity for users
According to Twitter, research suggests that users want more context when dealing with non-human accounts - bots. The new labels promise more clarity in this regard. According to the sample screenshots from Twitter, the labeling includes not only that the account is a bot, but also who created it and is therefore ultimately responsible for what the bot posts. Such information is meant to give the bot more legitimacy.
Initially, over 500 select developers will have access to the system to tag their good bots. Examples of such good bots named by Twitter include @earthquakesSF with its info on earthquakes in the San Francisco area; the @AltTxtReminder, which reminds people to add ALT text to images in the spirit of accessibility; or @met_drawings, which shows drawings and prints from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's collection that are in the public domain. These bots are also expected to participate in the label's test.
Unimpressed problem bots
It remains to be seen how much a voluntary labelling of good bots, at least for the time being, will bring in practice. Bots that deliberately spread nonsense are problematic. Thus originates According to the press every fourth climate denier tweet comes from a bot, and experts estimate that Covid 19 false information also often comes from bots. Many backers are unlikely to participate in a labeling system even if it were open to them. Whether measures on this side of a strictly enforced labelling obligation can make a difference therefore seems questionable. (pte)