Lax with misinformation, Twitter blocks Brazilian fact-checker bot

Lax with misinformation, Twitter blocks Brazilian fact-checker bot
Photo: Ascannio/Shutterstock

In a move that goes against its declared mission of curbing the spread of misinformation online, Twitter blocked API access to Fátima, a bot set up by independent Brazilian fact-checker Aos Fatos. With the decision, the bot can no longer detect links that may contain false information and share its findings with its followers. 

Twitter had already suspended Fátima’s profile for more than 10 hours, a move which was only reversed after the fact-checking agency contacted the platform. Aos Fatos affirms it was not notified ahead of time. 

“Fátima is recognized worldwide as an example of combating false information through the use of artificial intelligence. Instead of supporting it, Twitter decides to derail it while life-threatening lies continue to multiply on the platform. Besides its non-compliance with policies to combat misinformation, the company facilitates the work of professional fraudsters,” commented Tai Nalon, the website’s executive director. 

This came only one day after Twitter announced a partnership with news agencies Associated Press and Reuters in a campaign to prevent the spread of fake news on the social media platform. 

In March, Twitter announced that it would remove potentially misleading or erroneous posts about vaccines and punish users who shared them with suspensions or even permanent bans. 

Fátima was created in 2018 with the goal of helping combat misinformation by increasing access to information checked and verified by Aos Fatos. During the pandemic, the bot was responsible for debunking countless rumors regarding coronavirus vaccines.