Twitter has updated its Covid-19 policies and will be removing misleading tweets making unverified claims that “incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder”.
These changes are rightly being brought in at a time when Covid-19 misinformation has been spreading across social media and has pushed people to act irrationally and rashly. For example, the rumours about 5G being one of the root causes of Covid-19 spread has seen people setting fires to 5G towers in Britain.
Twitter has also specifically given the example of this 5G conspiracy theory to point out tweets that incite people and have included it in the new guidance.
We have broadened our guidance on unverified claims that incite people to engage in harmful activity, could lead to the destruction or damage of critical 5G infrastructure, or could lead to widespread panic, social unrest, or large-scale disorder.
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) April 22, 2020
“We’re prioritizing the removal of COVID-19 content when it has a call to action that could potentially cause harm,” a Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch. However, the company won’t remove every tweet. “As we’ve said previously, we will not take enforcement action on every Tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19,” the statement reads.
Twitter has already removed over 2,230 tweets with “misleading and potentially harmful content” since introducing updated policies regarding COVID-19 content on March 18. The new policies state that Twitter will require people to remove tweets that have content that can increase someone’s chance of contracting or spreading the virus.
Update: we’re expanding our safety rules to include content that could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19.
Now, we will require people to remove Tweets that include the following:
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) March 18, 2020
Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter, and YouTube have announced a joint pledge to fight coronavirus-related misinformation.