Twitter announced Wednesday that it will begin to double down on its efforts to label and outright remove posts that contain false claims about the novel coronavirus in the coming weeks amid nationwide efforts to dispense the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
A blog post issued by the social media platform states that the new changes will take effect December 21, and that Twitter 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.”
The latest policy update stipulates that users may be required to remove their tweets if they promote debunked claims about adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines or allegations that the respiratory disease is not real or serious and that vaccines are not necessary.
Additionally, the policy expansion indicates that posts will be axed if they suggest that COVID-19 vaccines are being used to “intentionally cause harm to or control populations, including statements about vaccines that invoke a deliberate conspiracy.”
Efforts to issue labels or warnings on such tweets will be undertaken in early 2021. The company also notes that labeled posts, similar to current flagging practices, may have have links added to them leading to “authoritative public health information” to provide additional context on COVID-19.
“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,” the announcement concludes.
The company’s expanded policies were released as health care workers across the nation have started to receive and administer COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline workers and nursing home residents and staffers.
The US Food and Drug Administration authorized Pfizer-BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use last Friday, prompting the company to begin distributing nearly 3 million doses of its drug to health professionals. Medical reviews of the vaccine have determined it is 95% effective in combating the dangerous virus.
Twitter’s declaration also follows a similar announcement by Facebook earlier this month that saw the fellow social media platform say that it would begin removing misinformation regarding COVID-19 vaccines.