You don’t have to go far to find anyone online downplaying the seriousness of a global pandemic that puts an end to whole economies and puts a stop to daily life. Twitter would delete tweets that are likely to cause damage by spreading harmful misinformation about Covid-19, the company said, following weeks of criticism that its misinformation policy was too weak.
Twitter revised its security policies to ban tweets that “could put people at a higher risk of COVID-19 transmission.” The new policy forbids tweets refusing expert advice on the virus, promoting “false or unsuccessful therapies, preventive and diagnostic strategies,” and tweets that deceive users by claiming to be from health authorities or experts.
Tweets falling under the following category will be removed:
- Denial of expert guidance
- Encouraging the use of false or ineffective therapies, preventive measures and diagnostic methods
- Misleading information intended to come from experts or authorities
Obviously, even for Twitter, this large set of guidelines is fairly difficult to enforce, because a plethora of tweets would fall under this deepened framework. Twitter has also set up a content severity triage program to address this task, which will help recognise and delete potentially offensive tweets.
Alternatively, the organization has so far focused on delivering factual information to combat disinformation, working with the NHS to guide users as they search for information to legitimate sources.
We’ll follow along to see how the network project goes in the days ahead and how Twitter will help curb the flood of potentially lethal disinformation as the world wakes up to COVID-19’s global danger.