Twitter has elected to introduce new guidelines regarding the spread of disinformation about the COVID-19 vaccine. The social media platform has announced that it will label and possibly remove tweets that spread disinformation regarding the vaccine. This new policy will focus on removing tweets that “advance harmful, false or misleading narratives” about the vaccine. Furthermore, Twitter intends to target tweets that spread widely debunked claims and “intentionally cause harm” to others.
“We will enforce this policy in close consultation with local, national and global public health authorities around the world, and will strive to be iterative and transparent in our approach,” Twitter stated.
These new guidelines come as Moderna and Pfizer roll out the first set of vaccines to at-risk groups and health professionals. Sandra Lindsay, an ICU nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, was among the first to receive the vaccine. Thankfully, the experience was pleasant and no different than receiving other vaccines.
"She has a good touch, and it didn't feel any different than taking any other vaccine," Lindsay said about receiving the vaccine.
"I trust the science. My profession is deeply rooted in science. I trust science. What I don't trust is getting Covid-19, because I don't know how it will affect me and the people around me that I could potentially transfer the virus to."
However, Lindsay's trust in the vaccine is unlike many, especially within the Black community. Given that recent studies found that nearly half of Black Americans, civil rights groups are fearful that many Black Americans will shy away from the vaccine during the pandemic.
“There has to be a well-thought-out, well-funded advertising campaign which is designed to give people information. People need to know that the clinical trials process included people of all backgrounds, all races. People have to understand why the process around testing for this vaccine [was] very different than what happened during the Tuskegee experiment," National Urban League President Marc Morial said.
As new vaccines are rolled out, civil rights groups will begin holding town halls and other events to provide proper information regarding the vaccine. Leading the way, the NAACP is hosting a town hall focused on the vaccine featuring physician Marcella Nunez-Smith, National Institute of Health senior researcher Kizzmekia Corbett and Sen. Cory Booker. Alongside the NAACP, Twitter is working to dispel misinformation by introducing the aforementioned guidelines on Monday.
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