Twitter began labeling tweets containing false claims about the COVID-19 pandemic early in 2020. Then in December, it announced an expansion to its policies around COVID-19 misinformation in order to crack down on misleading tweets about vaccines for the virus, including labeling these types of tweets and requiring the removal of posts containing false claims.
Today, the micro-blogging service announced that it has started applying labels to tweets that spread false information about COVID-19 vaccines. In addition, Twitter is locking accounts that share these tweets, depending on the number of violations.
Using a new strike system, the service will decide when it needs to take additional action to penalize misleading tweets. The first offense leads to no action at all. However, the second and third instances will result in a 12-hour account suspension. In addition, account owners will incur a seven-day account lock after four strikes and a permanent suspension after five or more strikes.
The labels will be enforced by the company's human staff first. After that, its machine learning system will apply these labels using the assessments made by its team members. These labels also contain links to authoritative posts about COVID-19 vaccines sourced from official public health organizations as well as to Twitter's rules.
In the long term, Twitter plans to use a mix of automated and human-generated labels to address COVID-19 vaccine misinformation on the platform. Initially, these labels will be applied to posts in English, with plans for expansion to additional languages in the future.