Tech | June 2, 2020 11:00 am

Twitter May Need to Hire More Fact Checkers Amid Trump Feud

Fact-checking Trump tweets is a whole different ball game

A tweet from Donald Trump on a smartphone
Good luck, Twitter.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

While Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey remains confident the platform can hold its own against an irate United States president, experts say Twitter may need to beef up its fact-checking team after flagging two Donald Trump tweets last week.

As various Wall Street analysts told the New York Post, Twitter’s decision to finally start cracking down on the infamously dubious claims of one of its most influential users has opened up a can of worms, leaving the company vulnerable to increased scrutiny of its practices.

“Any time a tech company — whether it’s Apple, Microsoft, Facebook or Twitter — puts themselves in the spotlight, there’s a lot of challenges that come with that as well,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives told the Post.

Twitter announced plans to start flagging potentially misleading tweets last month, but experts suggest the move to extend that policy to Trump tweets elevates Twitter to another level of fact-checking responsibility that would require a massive team of dedicated employees.

“From a volume and user perspective, Twitter trying to do this with full accuracy would be like trying to count grains of sand at the beach,” Ives said.

“I think if you are starting to go down the road of fact checking, then presumably you’re going to need more fact checkers,” said Third Bridge analyst Scott Kessler. “This has been done before in various contexts and it definitely costs money,” he added. “For a company that seemingly is being pretty conservative in terms of the way that they’ve positioned themselves and they operate, this seems like it would be an additional obligation.”

Twitter, for its part, said it does not plan to hire any additional employees to aid in the war against misinformation. “We are staffed appropriately for the work,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “Protecting the public conversation is work that is done by teams across the company, including product, trust and safety, curation and Twitter Service.”

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