Twitter has announced that it will be cracking down on coronavirus conversations and forcing users to remove tweets that deny “expert guidance.”
In a blog post and series of tweets about the changes, Twitter wrote that some tweets that tell people to “ignore news about COVID-19” and joke about the coronavirus will be removed.
The post states that tweets containing phrases such as “social distancing is not effective” and “ignore news about COVID-19, it’s just an attempt to destroy capitalism by crashing the stock market” will require removal under these new rules.
Certain jokes will also be prohibited under these new rules including jokes that reference ineffective, non-harmful treatments for the coronavirus and “specific and unverified claims” that come from parody accounts which are “impersonating a government or health official or organization.”
Other types of tweets that will require removal under these new rules include:
- Tweets that deny “established scientific facts about transmission” of the coronavirus
- Tweets about ineffective coronavirus treatments
- Tweets that contain “specific and unverified claims that incite people to action and cause widespread panic, social unrest or large-scale disorder”
- Tweets that contain “false or misleading claims” on how to definitively diagnose coronavirus
- Tweets that claim specific groups or nationalities are immune or more susceptible to coronavirus
One Twitter user questioned how Twitter will be defining “expert” and who the “arbiters” will be under these new rules.
“Please after taking our freedom of speech would you mind taking our freedom of thought and all our rights and liberties,” another Twitter user wrote. “Thanks, you are the best comrades.”
“So this is how liberty dies; with thunderous applause,” another user tweeted.
These latest restrictions on coronavirus tweets come days after Twitter told users to brace for enforcement mistakes as it ramps up its reliance on automated systems during the coronavirus pandemic.