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March 19, 2020updated 30 Sep 2022 9:03am

Twitter to remove tweets sharing fake claims about coronavirus

By PA Mediapoint

Tweets which promote fake treatments for the coronavirus or deny expert guidance will be marked as harmful and removed, Twitter has said.

The social network, which has millions of active users, said content that could place people at a higher risk of contracting Covid-19 would contravene its safety rules.

This could include claims that specific groups are more susceptible to contracting the virus, posting unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic and posting about harmful or non-harmful treatments which are ineffective.

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.

“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.

Social media sites and search engines have already been placing official guidance from the NHS and World Health Organisation at the top of search results.

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

Picture: Reuters/Kacper Pempel/Illustration/File Photo

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