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.

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Published on April 23, 2020
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