Spurious tweets on Covid-19 vaccine to be flagged by Twitter

Measure is in addition to removal of information social media firm considers harmful

When someone in Ireland searches on Twitter for key words associated with vaccinations, they will get a prompt directing them to the HSE’s dedicated web page on the issue. File photograph: Getty

When someone in Ireland searches on Twitter for key words associated with vaccinations, they will get a prompt directing them to the HSE’s dedicated web page on the issue. File photograph: Getty

 

Tweets about Covid-19 vaccines that may contain misleading information are being labelled by the social media giant.

From today, the labels are being applied by staff when they determine content has violated company policy. Initially, the labels will be used to inform automated tools about misinformation, but the goal is to eventually use automated and human review to address violations of Covid-19 vaccine misinformation rules.

The measure is in addition to the the removal of information the company considers harmful; so far, more than 8,400 tweets have been removed and 11.5 million accounts challenged.

Twitter is also introducing a strike system that determines whether further enforcement action is considered necessary.

“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 behaviour and their impact on the public conversation,” said a spokesman.

No action will be taken against an account after one strike, while following a second and a third it will be locked for 12 hours. A fourth will incur a seven-day lock, while five or more will mean it is suspended permanently.

Credible information

An appeal process will operate where a user believes an account was locked or suspended in error.

Last month, Twitter partnered with the Health Service Executive to give prominence to credible public health information about Covid-19 vaccines for people searching the topic on the social media platform.

Those searching for vaccine-related facts via the platform are directed towards HSE materials in a move designed to curb the spread of online misinformation.

When someone in Ireland searches on Twitter for certain key words associated with the vaccinations, they will get a visual prompt directing them to the HSE’s dedicated web page on the issue. The prompt will appear at the top of the person’s Twitter search results.