Twitter will begin removing misinformation about Covid-19 vaccines

Twitter Inc said Wednesday that it will begin removing false or misleading tweets about Covid-19 vaccinations that could be harmful, including false claims that the vaccines are deliberately harming or controlling the population or “an intentional conspiracy” cause.

Twitter’s policy update, which was posted in a blog post the same week that the first Americans received Covid-19 vaccinations as part of a mass vaccination campaign, also says that users may be tweets with false claims about the adverse effects of receiving Covid-19 need to remove vaccinations.

It also prohibits widely debunked misinformation about the adverse effects of receiving Covid-19 vaccines. The new policy will be enforced starting next week.

Conspiracy theories and misinformation about the coronavirus and its potential vaccines have spread on social media platforms during the pandemic.

Twitter said it could also flag or warn tweets of “baseless rumors, controversial allegations, and incomplete or out of context information” about the vaccines beginning early next year.

A Twitter spokeswoman said the company will work with public health partners to determine which vaccine misinformation is harmful enough to warrant removal.

Alphabet Inc’s Facebook Inc and YouTube in the past few weeks announced bans on false claims about the vaccine that violate information provided by public health experts.

Twitter previously required users to remove tweets containing false or misleading information about the type of coronavirus, the effectiveness or safety of preventive measures or treatments, government regulations, or the risk of infection or death. The company hides such tweets and prevents users from tweeting again until they remove them.

Twitter said it will enforce the updated policy from Dec. 21 and expand those measures in the weeks that follow.