Since Twitter introduced its controversial rules that ban the “denial of expert guidance” about the coronavirus, it has removed thousands of tweets, including those from a world leader and several public figures.
And now, the platform has announced that these rules will be getting stricter and placing further restrictions on what users are allowed to tweet about the coronavirus.
The new restrictions broaden the scope of what Twitter deems to be “unverified claims.”
Here’s what the the original rule prohibited:
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“Specific and unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder, such as ‘The National Guard just announced that no more shipments of food will be arriving for two months — run to the grocery store ASAP and buy everything!’”
And here’s what’s changed:
- “Specific” has been removed which suggests that all unverified claims now fall under these restrictions
- “Cause” has been replaced with the broader term “could lead to”
- An extra section that prohibits claims that “could lead to the destruction or damage of critical infrastructure” has been added
- “5G causes coronavirus — go destroy the cell towers in your neighborhood!” has been added as an example of an unverified claim
While Twitter provides two examples of what it deems to be unverified claims, the page doesn’t explain how Twitter will determine how it decides what claims “could” lead to “widespread panic” etc.
In addition to making these changes, Twitter also gave an update on the impact of its rules that crack down on coronavirus content.
Since March 18, it has removed 2,230 tweets for “containing misleading and potentially harmful content” and has also challenged more than 3.4 million accounts via its automated systems.
Meanwhile, Chinese propaganda is still running rampant on the platform with China’s Twitter bots recently causing the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to criticize Taiwan.