Twitter Begins Labeling Tweets That May Contain Misinformation Related To COVID-19, With Strict Strikes

Misinformation has truly been that one challenge which all social media companies took the responsibility of tackling on their shoulders and they certainly have done the job well. But since all is not done yet and we are just on the verge of beating COVID-19 with vaccination, Twitter has more plans to stop misleading information related to that as well.

As announced on Monday, the company will start labeling tweets that may contain incorrect information about the COVID-19 vaccines. The labeling will be done along with putting up links to the relevant information coming from the official bodies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And furthermore, in order to stop this practice strictly, Twitter will also put the repeated offended under the five-strike system which may lead to locked accounts and permanent suspension too.

These new labels seem a lot like Facebook’s anti-misinformation banners and also the ones that Twitter started deploying at the start of the pandemic.

Hence, as soon as you will see a tweet with misinformation, Twitter will show up a text underneath with the warning of misleading information and also link to the information from official sources or Twitter’s rules.

This labeling process, however, is going to be taken care of by humans and automated review systems. It will first roll out for tweets posted in English-language only.

Twitter has also set up a certain criteria of what kind of tweets will really fall into the misleading category and according to the new COVID-19 misleading information policy, you shouldn’t ideally have either of the five elements listed below:
  • If the tweet spreads misinformation about the nature of the virus
  • Any false assumption made regarding the efficacy of treatments and preventive measures
  • Any kind of incorrect reporting related to regulations, restrictions, and exemptions in association with health advisories
  • Misinformation based on the prevalence of the virus and the risk of infection or death
  • False claims of being a doctor or public health official
As labeling of the tweet leads to the new strike system for COVID-19 misinformation, therefore, a harmful labeled tweet will be counted as one strike (for the start). But with that, if Twitter considers that the misinformation posted in the form of tweets is questioning the COVID-19 treatments in a dangerous way and may give birth to a larger conspiracy related to the virus then chances are that your tweet is going to be deleted because of two strikes. Moreover, from that moment onwards, the account-level strikes begin which may result in more strict actions by Twitter.

Twitter has also used this labeling strategy to fight misinformation during the 2020 election as well when they started to label tweets from politicians — including the former president. While these labels are effective to some extent, yet they can’t stop people from spreading misleading information for as long as the system doesn’t detect their tweets.

Also, Twitter holding real punishment like a suspension for until five bad tweets would result in misleading tweets being labeled as “Misinformation” only which people don’t really bat an eye on.

Here are Twitter’s various punishments for varying number of strikes:
  • One strike - No account-level action taken
  • Two strikes - The account gets locked for 12 hours.
  • Three strikes - The account again gets locked for 12 hours.
  • Four strikes - Account lock that will go on for 7 days.
  • Five and onward strikes - User will be permanently suspended from the platform.

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