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Twitter says it will start attaching warning labels to tweets that contain misleading information about the coronavirus vaccine and institute a “strike” system to penalize users who post such misinformation, the company said in a blog post.
The new warnings will appear as pop-up messages in retweet windows. One of the messages would be, “This tweet may be misleading. Find out why health officials consider COVID-19 vaccines safe for most people,” with a link to a public health information page.
In the strike system, one strike would trigger no action, but two-to-three strikes would result in a Twitter account being locked for 12 hours. Four strikes would result in a 7-day account suspension and five or more strikes would bring permanent suspension from Twitter.
“We believe the strike system will help to educate the public on our policies and further reduce the spread of potentially harmful and misleading information on Twitter, particularly for repeated moderate and high-severity violations of our rules,” the blog post said.
The warnings and strike system represent an expansion of company policy in which Twitter had previously called for “the removal of the most harmful misleading information” about the vaccine and the COVID pandemic.
Since it began policing COVID misinformation, Twitter has already removed 8,400 tweets and challenged 11.5 accounts worldwide, the company said.
The warnings about misleading information will be produced by humans, at least in the beginning, Twitter said. Automation will later become part of the system.
Facebook announced Feb. 8 that it will now remove posts with false claims about all vaccines. These new guidelines apply to user-generated posts as well as paid advertisements.
Twitter: “Updates to our work on COVID-19 vaccine misinformation,” “COVID-19: Our approach to misleading vaccine information”
Facebook: “An Update on Our Work to Keep People Informed and Limit Misinformation About COVID-19”