Twitter Announces New Strike System to Tackle Covid-19 Vaccine Misinformation
March 8, 2021
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by Arabella Seebaluck

A good year after the pandemic has been introduced into our daily, if not hourly conversations, Twitter has announced a strike system for its users, to stop the spread of misinformation related to the Covid-19 vaccines.

Twitter made the announcement on their blog post on March 1. The current strike system will work as follows:

  • One strike: no account-level action
  • Two strikes: 12-hour account lock
  • Three strikes: 12-hour account lock
  • Four strikes: 7-day account lock
  • Five or more strikes: permanent suspension

Currently, the strike system will be focused on tweets written in English, till Twitter works to enforce this system for tweets written in other languages. Moreover, human moderators will be bringing this policy into effect, and the data will be fed to Twitter’s machine learning algorithm.

“We believe the strike system will help to educate the public on our policies and further reduce the spread of potentially harmful and misleading information on Twitter, particularly for repeated moderate and high-severity violations of our rules,” the company said.

Users cannot specifically report others for Covid misinformation but can report it for another offense such as ‘threatening harm’ and use the text box to add that the tweet is banned misinformation.

The first such announcement came from Twitter in December 2020 when the company announced it will start deleting accounts related to spreading misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccine. The company has deleted around 8,400 accounts so far and challenged claims by at least 11 million accounts worldwide.

The new policy comes after Facebook banned vaccine misinformation in early February using a similar strike system and permanently banning accounts with multiple violations.

Social media websites including TikTok and Instagram began adding links and labels to any information about Covid-19 in 2020 shortly after WHO announced the pandemic.

Twitter also used labels to fight misinformation during the 2020 US election, where it added labels to tweets from politicians, including former US President Donald Trump, which were inaccurate. While the labels may act as a warning, people tend to ignore them as it doesn’t stop anyone from sharing information.

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