Twitter cracks down on COVID vaccine misinformation

Health
Narendra Modi

In this photo provided by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s twitter handle, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is administered a COVID-19 vaccine in New Delhi, India, Monday, March 1, 2021. India is expanding its COVID-19 vaccination drive beyond health care and front-line workers, offering the shots to older people and those with medical conditions that put them at risk. As of Monday, those eligible to be vaccinated include people over 60, as well as those over 45 who have ailments such as heart disease or diabetes that make them vulnerable to the coronavirus. (Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s twitter handle via AP Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Twitter says it has begun labeling tweets that include misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines and using a “strike system” to eventually remove accounts that repeatedly violate its rules.

The company said Monday that it has started using human reviewers to assess whether tweets violate its policy against COVID vaccine misinformation. Eventually, the work will be done by a combination of humans and automation, it said.

Twitter had already banned some COVID-related misinformation in December, including falsehoods about how the virus spreads, whether masks are effective and the risk of infection and death.

“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 said in a blog postMonday.

People with one violation — or strike — will see no action. Two strikes will lead to an account being locked for 12 hours. Five or more will get a user permanently banned from Twitter.

Facebook has also stepped up its vaccine misinformation fight after years of half-hearted enforcement. It announced an expanded policy last month that includes all vaccines — not just those against COVID-19.

San Francisco-based Twitter said the new labels only apply to COVID vaccines, not others.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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