As the world continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and prepare for the global distribution of vaccines, people continue to turn to Twitter to discuss what’s happening and find the latest authoritative public health information.
Earlier this year, we shared our approach around the conversation surrounding COVID-19 on Twitter and today we’re providing additional guidance on how we plan to address misleading information around COVID-19 vaccinations. 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.
Our expanded approach
In the context of a global pandemic, vaccine misinformation presents a significant and growing public health challenge — and we all have a role to play. We are focused on mitigating misleading information that presents the biggest potential harm to people’s health and wellbeing. Twitter has an important role to play as a place for good faith public debate and discussion around these critical public health matters.
Under our current policy, we already require the removal of Tweets that include false or misleading information about:
- The nature of the virus, such as how it spreads within communities;
- The efficacy and/or safety of preventative measures, treatments, or other precautions to mitigate or treat the disease;
- Official regulations, restrictions, or exemptions pertaining to health advisories; and
- The prevalence or risk of infection or death.
Moving forward and beginning next week, we are expanding the policy and may require people to remove Tweets which advance harmful false or misleading narratives about COVID-19 vaccinations, including:
- 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.
Starting in early 2021, we may label or place a warning on Tweets that advance unsubstantiated rumors, disputed claims, as well as incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines. 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.
Using a combination of technology and human review, we will begin enforcing this updated policy on December 21, and expanding our actions during the following weeks. 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. We remained focused on helping people find credible health information, verifying public health experts, and updating our policies in an iterative and transparent approach.