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Twitter is clamping down on misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines, introducing a strike system that will result in permanent bans for accounts.
In a blog post on 1 March, the company announced that it would label tweets that contain misleading vaccine information.
The changes were first discussed by Twitter in December last year as part of its action against tweets that went against its COVID-19 information guidelines, but came into effect on Monday.
“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,” Twitter explained.
The new Twitter strikes system: How it works
Twitter staff will manage the new labelling system and determine if tweets violate Twitter’s policy.
These determinations will help automate the process, but humans will still conduct reviews going forward.
The labels will appear below tweets and include a link to official public health information.
Users who have their tweets labelled or removed will be notified and receive a strike against their account.
Accounts can accumulate strikes and receive penalities as a result.
No action will be taken with one strike, but two strikes will result in a 12-hour account lock. A third strike will result in an additional 12 hours.
Four strikes will result in a 7-day account lock, while five or more will result in the Twitter account’s permanent suspension.
Like in other cases, users can submit an appeal if they think their account was locked or suspended in error.
It’s not just COVID-19 misinformation Twitter has targeted recently. In January, the platform introduced a civic integrity policy aimed at combatting misinformation about civic processes such as elections.
More social media platforms are cracking down on vaccine misinformation. In February, Facebook outright banned vaccine misinformation and will remove any posts that share misleading claims about vaccines.
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