As COVID-19 spreads around the world, the misinformation about coronavirus also spreads. Some people are spreading outright lies, while others are using the pandemic to spread propaganda for political reasons or trying to make money off the back of it.
When people start spreading misinformation, we need the platforms they’re using to step up and combat the lies. Which is exactly what Twitter has committed to doing. And it has outlined the rules it has strengthened in order to combat coronavirus lies.
Twitter Cracks Down on Coronavirus Lies
On the Twitter Blog, the company gave an overview of the rules it’s employing. The company’s main weapon is a broadening of its definition of harm. This will enable Twitter to purge tweets that could “place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19.”
This addresses content that goes “directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.” The company will “enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments.”
We’re responding to this rapidly evolving situation, and we’ll continue to review the Twitter Rules in the context of COVID-19 and make changes as necessary.
For more information: https://t.co/m5DEQVNMEc
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) March 17, 2020
Twitter then lists some of the types of tweets it will be asking people to remove, including:
- “Social distancing is not effective.”
- “Use aromatherapy and essential oils to prevent COVID-19.”
- “Drinking bleach and ingesting colloidal silver will cure COVID-19.”
- “Coronavirus is a fraud and not real – go out and patronize your local bar!!”
- “If you can hold your breath for 10 seconds, you do not have coronavirus.”
- “If you have a wet cough, it’s not coronavirus – but a dry cough is.”
- “People with dark skin are immune to COVID-19 due to melanin production.”
These tweets all contain outright lies or misinformation about coronavirus and COVID-19. And by putting them out into the world, people are obfuscating the facts and helpful advice that legitimate experts are trying to impart. Hence the need to remove them.
Don’t Believe Everything You Read Online
We would hope our readers are intelligent enough to have questioned every single one of these claims. Unfortunately, not everyone on Twitter is capable of that, and would rather believe something they’ve read online than information from a reliable source.
Choosing your sources of information now is more crucial than ever, as the middle of a pandemic isn’t the time to play with the truth. Even in jest. To help you out, we have compiled a list of unbiased news sources free from censorship .