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Twitter Steps up Efforts to Prevent Coronavirus Misinformation

By Donna Fuscaldo - Mar 19, 2020 at 10:41AM

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Twitter is expanding the content that will be removed from its platform in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus related misinformation that continues to propagate despite its best efforts.

In an escalation of its efforts to keep coronavirus misinformation off its platform, Twitter (TWTR 1.89%) has expanded the content that will be banned. 

In a tweet, the microblogging platform operator said it's safety rules now cover content that could place people at higher risk of spreading COVID-19, the virus caused by coronavirus.

Any content that includes denials of expert guidance, encouragement to use fake or ineffective treatments, preventions and diagnostic tools and misleading content that's purported to be from experts will be removed from Twitter. Any content that "claims that specific groups, nationalities are more susceptible to COVID-19," will also be removed. The aim is to capture Tweets that will increase the chances of someone spreading the virus. 

A person using mobile phone to send a Tweet.


In a blog post Twitter delved deeper into its plans saying it's increasing its use of machine learning and automation to find and remove abusive and manipulated content. It's also broadening its definition of harm to include content that goes against guidance from authoritative sources. "As we've said on many occasions, our approach to protecting the public conversation is never static. That's particularly relevant in these unprecedented times. We intend to review our thinking daily and will ensure we're sharing updates here on any new clarifications to our rules or major changes to how we're enforcing them," Twitter said in the blog. 

The move is notable since Twitter has long faced criticism that it's slow to censor or remove tweets. It also comes as Facebook (META 7.19%) steps up its effort to stop the spread of misinformation and to encourage people to take social distancing seriously. The social media giant announced its putting credible coronavirus information at the top of news feeds and is working with the World Health Organization to disseminate accurate and reliable information. 

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