Twitter has announced that it will start cracking down on COVID-19 misinformation, limiting the spread of this misleading or otherwise ‘disputed’ content on its platform. The company initially published a blog post in March detailing its efforts related to the pandemic, stating that it was working with ‘trusted partners’ to deal with coronavirus content that goes against trusted sources.
Starting today, May 11, Twitter says that it will apply warnings and labels to tweets that contain misinformation related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and COVID-19. These labels and warnings are intended to provide ‘additional context and information’ about the disease and coronavirus, countering misleading ‘facts’ or other content in problematic tweets.
These labels and warnings will target ‘less severe’ tweets than the policy announced in March, ones that could be potentially misleading or confusing, but that aren’t necessarily something that should be removed from the platform. The labels read “Get the facts about COVID-19.” Users can tap the label to be taken to a page that contains official, credible info about the pandemic.
If a tweet contains potentially more harmful or misleading info, Twitter says the new warnings will be applied — they state that “Some or all of the content shared in this Tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts regarding COVID-19.” This warning appears over the tweet; the user must tap the ‘View’ button on the warning to see the actual tweeted content.
Twitter won’t take action against tweets that contain unverified claims, but it will apply either a label or a warning to disputed claims. For tweets that contain misleading information, Twitter says it will either label the tweet or entirely remove it, depending on the ‘propensity for harm’ related to the content. Twitter says it will be proactively monitoring for this content in addition to using partners.