Twitter is the latest social platform to join the fight against misinformation relating to COVID-19.
Last week, Facebook rolled out new measures to ensure users can identify inaccurate information about the Corona Virus. Now Twitter is putting in measures that will help reduce unfounded claims and theories about COVID-19. In an update to its official COVID-19 policies, it says users tweeting claims that “incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder,” will be removed.
As is true all year round, fake news proves to be destructive, as it shapes opinions and ideologies without offering any form of factual information. During our current epidemic, it’s crucial media outlets, including social, put policies in place to ensure people are consuming as much accurate information as possible.
The UK has already seen groups of people destroy 5G towers, as conspiracy theorists suggest that COVID-19 was related to the introduction of 5G connectivity, rather than being potentially contracted from animals.
In a tweet put out on March 18th, it states the company has already removed 2,230 tweets that contain “misleading and potentially harmful content.” To reinforce its stance on misinformation, Twitter told TechCrunch, “we’re prioritizing the removal of COVID-19 content when it has a call to action that could potentially cause harm.” However, Twitter was also quick to point out it would not be taking action on every Tweet that “contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19.”
While the likes of Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter do their part to control the spread of misinformation, we, the people, have to take a good long look at ourselves.
In these testing times, it’s easy to get drawn into debate, theory, and hearsay. And as we become more desperate for answers and understanding, we can easily become attached to points of view that fit in line with our own thoughts on the situation. But before we spread our theories, we must be certain that strong evidence is linked to them. Otherwise, we potentially put ourselves and others at greater risk – something we can all do without right now.