Social Media

Twitter will remove Covid-19 tweets that can incite ‘harmful activity’

Hemani Seth Mumbai | Updated on April 23, 2020 Published on April 23, 2020

Twitter on Thursday announced that it had updated its policies to remove tweets that make unverified claims that could potentially lead to harmful activity or spread panic.

“We have broadened our guidance on unverified claims that incite people to engage in harmful activity, could lead to the destruction or damage of critical 5G infrastructure, or could lead to widespread panic, social unrest, or large-scale disorder,” the micro-blogging platform had tweeted from its Twitter Safety account.


The social media giant had specifically mentioned 5G in light of the recent incidents where false claims relating the Covid-19 pandemic to 5G had led to the destruction of property in the UK. It was deemed as “dangerous fake news” by British officials.

Multiple conspiracy theories had surfaced since March that claimed that the coronavirus outbreak was connected to 5G telecom masts. Multiple cellular towers in Birmingham, Liverpool and Melling in Merseyside were torched and telecom staff threatened in a bid to stop the spread of the virus earlier this month, BBC had reported.

This adds to the micro-blogging platform’s clampdown on Covid-19 hoax tweets. On March 18, Twitter had updated its coronavirus strategy and its policies to curb misinformation. The company had said that it will ban all tweets spreading information related to fake cures or posts that could incite panic and hinder official efforts to counter the pandemic.

“Update: we’re expanding our safety rules to include content that could place people at a higher risk of transmitting COVID-19. Now, we will require people to remove Tweets that include the following: Content that increases the chance that someone contracts or transmits the virus, including Denial of expert guidance. Encouragement to use fake or ineffective treatments, preventions, and diagnostic techniques. Misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities,” Twitter had said.

It had also further increased its use of machine learning to weed out such fake information and remove manipulative and abusive content from its platform.

After updating its policies, the platform has removed over 2,230 Tweets containing misleading and potentially harmful content.

“Our automated systems have challenged more than 3.4 million accounts targeting manipulative discussions around COVID-19,” Twitter said.

Published on April 23, 2020

A letter from the Editor

Dear Readers,

The coronavirus crisis has changed the world completely in the last few months. All of us have been locked into our homes, economic activity has come to a near standstill. Everyone has been impacted.

Including your favourite business and financial newspaper. Our printing and distribution chains have been severely disrupted across the country, leaving readers without access to newspapers. Newspaper delivery agents have also been unable to service their customers because of multiple restrictions.

In these difficult times, we, at BusinessLine have been working continuously every day so that you are informed about all the developments – whether on the pandemic, on policy responses, or the impact on the world of business and finance. Our team has been working round the clock to keep track of developments so that you – the reader – gets accurate information and actionable insights so that you can protect your jobs, businesses, finances and investments.

We are trying our best to ensure the newspaper reaches your hands every day. We have also ensured that even if your paper is not delivered, you can access BusinessLine in the e-paper format – just as it appears in print. Our website and apps too, are updated every minute, so that you can access the information you want anywhere, anytime.

But all this comes at a heavy cost. As you are aware, the lockdowns have wiped out almost all our entire revenue stream. Sustaining our quality journalism has become extremely challenging. That we have managed so far is thanks to your support. I thank all our subscribers – print and digital – for your support.

I appeal to all or readers to help us navigate these challenging times and help sustain one of the truly independent and credible voices in the world of Indian journalism. Doing so is easy. You can help us enormously simply by subscribing to our digital or e-paper editions. We offer several affordable subscription plans for our website, which includes Portfolio, our investment advisory section that offers rich investment advice from our highly qualified, in-house Research Bureau, the only such team in the Indian newspaper industry.

A little help from you can make a huge difference to the cause of quality journalism!


Support Quality Journalism
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor
You have read 1 out of 3 free articles for this week. For full access, please subscribe and get unlimited access to all sections.