Twitter says it will ban users who repeatedly post misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines
- The social media site will also label posts that contain false information about COVID-19 vaccines.
- Kaiser Family Foundation reported 15% of people said they will "definitely not" get vaccinated.
Twitter said it will permanently suspend accounts that repeatedly post COVID-19 vaccine misinformation.
The social media site announced a plan to better inform users about false claims regarding COVID-19 vaccines, including labeling tweets that contain misleading information.
Twitter will use automated and human reviewers to identify and label misleading posts about COVID-19 vaccines.
Users that post misleading information on several occasions will be locked out of their accounts for as many as seven days. Users that receive five or more "strikes," or notification that their posts were misleading, will be permanently suspended from Twitter.
"As health authorities deepen their understanding of COVID-19 and vaccination programs around the world, we will continue to amplify the most current, up-to-date, and authoritative information," the company said in a release.
Twitter announced in December it would start removing misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
The Food and Drug Administration approved a single-dose vaccine made by Johnson & Johnson on Saturday, meaning three vaccines are now available for Americans. The US has administered nearly 77 million doses of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines as of March 1.
Though the number of Americans who say they are willing to get a vaccine is rising, 15% of people will "definitely not" get vaccinated, according to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey. Anthony Fauci said up to 90% of the population needs to get vaccinated to reach herd immunity.
Vaccine hesitancy may, in part, stem from misleading or false information online. American doctors said anti-vaxxers, or people who discourage others from getting vaccines, used Twitter and Facebook to spread debunked claims.
Twitter has increased removal of misinformation related to COVID-19. Last spring, the company began requiring users to remove tweets that deny expert guidance on COVID-19.
But Twitter has fallen short in preventing COVID-19 misinformation from spreading. Two million tweets spread conspiracy theories about COVID-19 soon after virus cases were identified outside of China last spring, according to an unpublished State Department report obtained by The Washington Post. And in 2019, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey guest starred on a podcast by a fitness personality who spread vaccine misinformation to his audience.
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