Twitter warns misleading coronavirus tweets may slip through


Twitter may not be able to address all tweets that violate its guidelines on incomplete or misleading information regarding the coronvirus.

Graphic by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

Just days after announcing a new push to combat misinformation about coronavirus circulating on the social network, Twitter warned on Monday it might not be able to address every tweet that violates those new safety rules.

Under the new guidance announced Wednesday, Twitter said it would require users to remove tweets that could fuel the spread of the novel coronavirus, specifically those that go against the recommendations of local and global health authorities or encourage the use of ineffective or harmful treatments.

Twitter expanded on that policy Monday in a series of tweets.

“We want to make it clear that we will not be able to take enforcement action on every tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19,” the Twitter Safety Team said in the thread of tweets.

“Official government accounts engaging in conversation about the origins of the virus and global public conversation about potential emergent treatments will be permitted, unless the content contains clear incitement to take a harmful physical action,” the team said in a followup tweet.

The new guidance comes as social networks try to stop the spread of misinformation about the coronavirus. Symptoms of COVID-19 include a cough and shortness of breath. On the same day Twitter clarified its definition of harmful content, Facebook said it’s creating a new online hub so users can find information about the coronavirus from trustworthy sources. 

Twitter’s tweets also said it’s keeping an eye on its enforcement guidance, in consultation with medical professionals and would update the public on its progress.

Twitter declined to comment further.

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