Twitter Cracks Down On Vaccine Tweets

Twitter is getting tough on misleading vaccine tweets — including those that claim vaccinated people can spread COVID-19, even though federal authorities say such transmission is possible.

The social media platform has announced it will start slapping penalties on users who claim vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 or other misleading information on the virus.

The rule was quietly added to the website’s terms of service on Dec. 2, according to Wayback Machine archives retrieved by Reclaim the Net. 

“When tweets include misleading information about COVID-19, we may place a label on those tweets that includes corrective information about that claim,” Twitter notes in a section about COVID misinformation.

“We may apply labels to tweets that contain, for example… false or misleading claims that people who have received the vaccine can spread or shed the virus (or symptoms, or immunity) to unvaccinated people.”

Mediaite noted Wednesday that stricture appears counter to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance. 

The CDC guidance reads, in part: “Investigations are ongoing to further assess the risk of transmission from fully vaccinated persons with SARS-CoV-2 infections to other vaccinated and unvaccinated people. Early evidence suggests infections in fully vaccinated persons caused by the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 may be transmissible to others; however, SARS-CoV-2 transmission between unvaccinated persons is the primary cause of continued spread.”

Twitter’s new “COVID-19 misleading information policy” will also impose sanctions on tweets about PCR tests, and health authorities, the social media giant said — and include removing and labeling tweets.

The sanctions also result in Twitter users collecting strikes on their account that can lead to a permanent suspension. Penalties range from a 12-hour account lock after the second strike, and a permanent suspension — or ban — on the fifth strike.

The crackdown comes two weeks after former CEO Jack Dorsey’s Nov. 29 announcement that he was stepping down to focus on cryptocurrency, leaving Parag Agrawal as his successor.

Mediaite reported Agrawal raised eyebrows among critics a day later with a change about “sharing personal media.”

“Sharing personal media, such as images or videos, can potentially violate a person’s privacy, and may lead to emotional or physical harm. The misuse of private media can affect everyone, but can have a disproportionate effect on women, activists, dissidents, and members of minority communities. When we receive a report that a Tweet contains unauthorized private media, we will now take action in line with our range of enforcement options.”

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