Twitter to remove false claims about coronavirus vaccines, add label to misleading tweets

Adding to its slew of regulations to help combat misinformation, Twitter plans to implement measures to rid its platform of false information concerning the COVID-19 vaccine, the company announced Wednesday.

Starting next week, we will prioritize the removal of the most harmful misleading information, and during the coming weeks, begin to label Tweets that contain potentially misleading information about the vaccines,” Twitter stated in a news release.

The company already has tools in place to remove misinformation regarding the nature of the novel coronavirus and how it spreads, acceptable social distancing guidelines, official regulations and restrictions, and information regarding how harmful COVID-19 can be.

FILE - 'Fact-checking' sign displayed on a laptop and Twitter logo displayed on a phone screen are seen in this illustration photo.

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Beginning Dec. 21, information that Twitter will take action against could include:

  • “False claims that suggest immunizations and vaccines are used to intentionally cause harm to or control populations, including statements about vaccines that invoke a deliberate conspiracy;
  • False claims which have been widely debunked about the adverse impacts or effects of receiving vaccinations; or
  • False claims that COVID-19 is not real or not serious, and therefore that vaccinations are unnecessary.“

The company also said it will add labels or warnings on certain tweets that aim to spread harmful misinformation.

“Tweets that are labeled under this expanded guidance may link to authoritative public health information or the Twitter Rules to provide people with additional context and authoritative information about COVID-19,” the news release added.

“We will enforce this policy in close consultation with local, national and global public health authorities around the world, and will strive to be iterative and transparent in our approach,” the company concluded.

The new policy comes as the U.S. is beginning to roll out COVID-19 vaccinations in the largest immunization campaign in the country's history. Vaccinations in other countries are also underway.

This while large swaths of people are hesitant about immunizations, and anti-vaccination groups and individuals peddle conspiracies on social media.

Facebook and YouTube have also announced they will remove misinformation about the vaccines.

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the U.S. passed a staggering 300,000 on Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University, with about 2,400 people now dying per day on average.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.