/Twitter joins the fight against anti-vaccine misinformation

Twitter joins the fight against anti-vaccine misinformation


Twitter is promoting vaccines.gov in search results.
Twitter is promoting vaccines.gov in search results.

Image: justin sullivan / Getty Images

Twitter has become the latest social media company to address misinformation about vaccines on its platform. 

The company announced that it will redirect users to a “credible public health resource” when they search for specific terms associated with vaccines. 

“At Twitter, we understand the importance of vaccines in preventing illness and disease and recognize the role that Twitter plays in disseminating important public health information,” Twitter’s VP of Trust and Safety, Del Harvey wrote in a blog post. “We think it’s important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and well-being.”

The update comes as Facebook and other platforms have faced public pressure to stop the spread of conspiracy theories and other inaccurate information about vaccines. 

Twitter's new  in-app message promoting vaccines.gov.

Twitter’s new  in-app message promoting vaccines.gov.

With the change, Twitter is pushing an in-app message when people search for vaccine-related terms that encourages users to “know the facts.” In the United States, that’s via the Department of Health and Human Services site, vaccines.gov. Other countries will see info from sources relevant to their area.

Unlike Instagram, which recently announced it would block certain hashtags associated with vaccine misinformation, Twitter isn’t blocking any search results, but pointing users to verified information. The company will, however, stop automatically suggesting search terms that “are likely to direct individuals to non-credible commentary and information about vaccines.”

These new in-app messages will appear in Twitter’s apps and mobile site in the U.S., UK, Canada, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and in “Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.” Similar searches on Twitter’s desktop site will show a tweet from one of Twitter’s designated credible sources as the top result.

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