Twitter to remove harmful coronavirus content as pandemic sweeps globe

19 March 2020, 07:54

Twitter will help tackle fake coronavirus news
Twitter will help tackle fake coronavirus news. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Twitter is set to remove harmful tweets which promote fake treatments for Covid-19 or deny expert advice, the social network said.

The site says it wants to fight any misinformation and fraud linked to the outbreak of coronavirus which has swept the globe.

Other social media platforms including Facebook and YouTube have already committed to working with Governments.

Twitter has already been placing official guidance from the NHS and World Health Organisation at the top of search results.

A Twitter spokesperson said any content that could place people at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 would contravene its safety rules.

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Claims that specific groups are more susceptible to contracting the virus will be marked as harmful, as well as posting unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic and posting about harmful or non-harmful treatments which are ineffective.

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In a post on its website, Twitter said: "We will enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments, and continue to use and consult with information from those sources when reviewing content."

It follows an announcement from technology companies Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit and YouTube earlier this week in which they committed to work together and with governments in response to the pandemic.

In a joint statement, they said they would work to ensure people could stay connected to each other during isolation as well as fight any misinformation and fraud linked to the outbreak.

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"We are working closely together on Covid-19 response efforts," the statement said.

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"We're helping millions of people stay connected while also jointly combating fraud and misinformation about the virus, elevating authoritative content on our platforms, and sharing critical updates in co-ordination with government healthcare agencies around the world.

Other platforms have also pledged to work quickly to remove any misinformation linked to the virus which is flagged to or spotted by them .