Twitter to step up policing of misleading Covid-19 content

Twitter has ramped up its fight against Covid-19 misinformation
MORE VIGILANT: Twitter has ramped up its fight against Covid-19 misinformation
Image: 123RF/prykhodov

Twitter has begun tagging misleading and disputed claims about the coronavirus pandemic in a stepped-up effort to label potentially harmful content.

The move by Twitter comes with social networks struggling to deal with a wave of misinformation and unverified claims about the disease outbreak.

“Serving the public conversation remains our overarching mission, and we’ll keep working to build tools and offer context so that people can find credible and authentic information on Twitter,” a blog post by Twitter’s site integrity chief Yoel Roth and public policy director Nick Pickles said.

The initiative comes following previous actions by Twitter to remove content posing a specific threat to health or safety.

Twitter said under the new effort, warning labels would be added for misleading statements or assertions that have been confirmed to be false or inaccurate by public health authorities, as well as other claims about which the accuracy or credibility is contested.

“Our teams are using and improving on internal systems to proactively monitor content related to Covid-19,” Roth and Pickles said.

“These systems help ensure we’re not amplifying tweets with these warnings or labels and detecting the high-visibility content quickly.”

They said Twitter would rely on trusted partners to identify questionable content likely to result in harm.

“We’ll learn a lot as we use these new labels, and are open to adjusting as we explore labelling different types of misleading information,” they said.

Twitter has previously blocked or removed content promoting conspiracy theories about the Covid-19 outbreak, including false claims linking the disease with 5G wireless systems.

In March, Twitter broadened its policy guidance to address content that goes directly against public health guidance, pledging to remove anything with “a clear call to action that could directly pose a risk to people’s health or wellbeing,” including claims of fake virus cures.


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