NLP statement on Twitter’s rules and policies

WASHINGTON (May 29, 2020) — In response to growing concerns about how Twitter handles tweets from elected officials that violate the social media platform’s rules and community standards, News Literacy Project Founder and CEO Alan C. Miller issued the following statement:

“This is a very important issue that grows more pressing each day and is only amplified by the current pandemic and the upcoming United States presidential election. Twitter’s recent decisions to add labels to tweets from President Trump are part of what has been a years-long debate about how social media companies should apply their community standards to public officials, weighing the potential harm of an inaccurate or misleading tweet against the public’s need to know what elected officials are saying. That’s why I believe it’s urgent that we, as a country, take steps to make sure that the next generation is prepared to understand and meet these challenges.

Aspects of this debate offer opportunities for engagement and learning in the nation’s classrooms and homes. We can help students understand whether social media platforms should be considered publishers; whether labeling or removing tweets from an elected official amounts to censorship; whether social media platforms are taking actions in ways that are consistent and fair, and how community standards should be enforced among other users.

Young people are inheriting an information ecosystem that has unfolded in ways we never imagined, and thus it is imperative for us to provide guidance on how these platforms should be used. Today’s students are tomorrow’s voters and leaders. Now is the time to make sure they are prepared to recognize and reject misinformation that spreads on social media platforms. As this issue demonstrates, news literacy skills must be built into the education system so students can determine what is fact and fiction in the information they consume, share and act on.

As the leader of a nonpartisan education nonprofit, I welcome these critical conversations. It is vital that we all understand the terms of the debate if we’re to land on a solution that is fair, informative and productive.”