Twitter content policy change fuels rise in misinformation

As of last week, Twitter has stopped enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy, which allowed users to flag content promoting false or misleading information about COVID-19 for review and potential removal from the platform. 

Twitter’s COVID-19 guidelines were launched in January 2020 to combat misinformation in real time and make it easier for users to find accurate information about COVID-19 on the platform. The rules, while imperfect, have led to the suspension of over 11,000 accounts circulating COVID-19 misinformation. With the end of the policy, some large accounts that fueled early waves of COVID-19 misinformation and contributed to enduring vaccine hesitancy have returned to the site. Other prominent anti-vaccine accounts that have been flagged by public health and fact-checking organizations are expected to return soon.

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The Public Health Communications Collaborative (PHCC) was formed in 2020 to coordinate and amplify public health messaging on COVID-19 and increase Americans’ confidence in guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health officials.

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