In March, Twitter said it was stepping up its efforts to fight coronavirus misinformation. The company said it would ban tweets that perpetuate fake cures, deny expert guidance or spread information that could incite panic. It is rushing to verify more health experts, and it has pledged specifically to remove conspiracies linking 5G and coronavirus. But as social media platforms like Facebook have also discovered, fighting COVID-19 misinformation is not easy, and this new report suggests that Twitter is not doing enough to police “super-spreaders.”
Even with Twitter’s promise to ban promotion of ineffective treatment, these accounts shared false studies claiming that hydroxychloroquine treatment has a 100 percent success rate and endorsements for licorice root and Zinc as virus cures. Some said social distancing was “ineffective,” and Icke posted that the virus was a scam.
In a statement provided to Engadget, a Twitter spokesperson said:
“We’re prioritizing the removal of content when it has a call to action that could potentially cause harm. As we’ve said previously, we will not take enforcement action on every Tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about COVID-19.”
Twitter says it has removed more than 2,400 tweets since mid-March and “challenged 3.4 million potentially spammy accounts” related to COVID-19.
Update 5/7/2020 12:50PM ET: This story was updated to include a statement from Twitter.
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