What just happened? Twitter this week said it is broadening its guidance on ‘unverified claims’ that could lead to the harm or destruction of critical infrastructure as well as those that could cause large-scale social disorder or widespread panic, such as tweets about food shortages or calls to burn cell towers due to the Coronavirus.
As you’ve likely heard, some conspiracy theorists have managed to link Covid-19 to the proliferation of next-generation 5G wireless technology. A select few vigilantes have even gone so far as to torch cell towers, destroying infrastructure and potentially putting others in danger. It’s this sort of irrational thinking that Twitter is attempting to thwart with its latest policy expansion.
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.— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) April 22, 2020
A Twitter spokesperson told TechCrunch that they’ve removed more than 2,200 tweets since new policies went into effect on March 18. Furthermore, automated systems have challenged more than 3.4 million accounts that were targeting discussions around Covid-19 with manipulative or spammy behavior.
The spokesperson further noted that they will not take enforcement action on every tweet that contains incomplete or disputed information about the Coronavirus. Rather, they’re prioritizing those that have a call to action that could potentially cause harm.
Masthead credit: TPROduction