Just a couple of days after Google announced measures to curb misinformation around COVID-19 vaccine (just like it did with the coronavirus itself), micro blogging platform Twitter also announced on Wednesday that it will remove tweets making false or misleading claims about the COVID-19 vaccine. Twitter made the announcement in a blog post, saying that any tweets claiming that vaccines "intentionally cause harm to control population" or invoke conspiracy theories will be subject to removal.
Twitter also said that any tweets that falsely suggest that COVID-19 doesn't exist or espouse "widely debunked" claims will also be removed. The micro-blogging site said that the new policy around COVID-19 vaccine will be enforced starting next week. It also said that it will place warnings on tweets pushing vaccine conspiracy theories starting early next year. These labels will link to authoritative public health information, similar to the ones already in place on Facebook platforms and how Twitter directed users to verified information during the 2020 US Presidential Elections.
“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," Twitter said in its blog post. This comes at a time when health care workers across the US have started to receive COVID-19 vaccinations after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorised the use of the Pfizer and BioNTech vaccine. These vaccinations have been subject to many conspiracy theories, some even claiming that these vaccines allegedly contain microchips or will alter people's DNA.
The new labels add to Twitter's efforts to control misinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic. The platform has a COVID-19 tab in its explore page and has partnered with healthcare organisations like the WHO to show verified information about the coronavirus on Twitter.