Twitter has introduced new rules to prevent the spread of misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines. Under the new policy, the company will label tweets with “misleading” information and ban accounts that repeatedly break the rules.
Twitter had previously “harmful” misinformation about the vaccines, such as claims that the vaccines are harmful or unnecessary. Under the new rules, Twitter will add prominent labels to tweets with “misleading information.” There will also be stricter penalties for accounts that repeatedly share such claims.
The new labels look similar to the ones Twitter used around the elections in the US: “This tweet is misleading,” it says. “Find out why health officials consider COVID-19 vaccines safe for most people.” Other users will also be prevented from retweeting the labeled tweets, though Twitter will allow quote tweets. The labels may link to Twitter Moments with “official public health information.”
The company is also introducing a new strike system that will allow it to punish repeat offenders. After the first strike, users will face temporary suspensions for sharing vaccine misinformation. A fifth strike will result in a permanent ban. “Through the use of the strike system, we hope to educate people on why certain content breaks our rules so they have the opportunity to further consider their behavior and their impact on the public conversation,” Twitter wrote in a blog post.
Twitter is the latest platform to crack down on vaccine misinformation. Facebook recently announced that it was banning misinformation about the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as claims about other vaccines more broadly and YouTube have also introduced policies to curb the spread of false claims about the vaccines.