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Twitter's New 5-Strike System Aims to Curb Covid-19 Misinformation

Five strikes and you're permanently out.

This story originally appeared on PCMag

Twitter is cracking down on the spread of COVID-19 vaccine misinformation. Alongside new labels applied to potentially misleading tweets, the social network has introduced a new strike system that could result in permanent suspension.

Aytac Unal/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images via PC Mag

Twitter in March 2020 began removing tweets that contain coronavirus untruths—specifically posts that risk causing serious harm. It later launched labels and warning messages to provide "additional context" to conversations about the novel coronavirus.

"Our goal with these product interventions is to provide people with additional context and authoritative information about COVID-19," the Twitter Safety team wrote in a blog announcement. Now, team members are on the lookout for prohibited tweets, which may be slapped with a label linking to curated content, official public health information, and the Twitter rules. Enforcement doesn't end there, though.

Each violation earns the user another strike, and the associated punishment:

  • One strike: no account-level action
  • Two strikes: 12-hour account lock
  • Three strikes: 12-hour account lock
  • Four strikes: seven-day account lock
  • Five or more strikes: permanent suspension

"We believe the strike system will help to educate the public on our policies and further reduce the spread of potentially harmful and misleading information," according to the blog. "Particularly for repeated moderate and high-severity violations of our rules."

But this is about more than just bringing down the hammer. Twitter has partnered with a number of local, national, and global health authorities to circulate reliable information, address public questions, and encourage healthy conversation.

"As health authorities deepen their understanding of COVID-19 and vaccination programs around the world, we will continue to amplify the most current, up-to-date, and authoritative information," Twitter said. "We are all in this together, and we will continue to update you on our progress as we strive to play our part to protect the public conversation at this critical time."

Written By

Stephanie began as a PCMag reporter in May 2012. She moved to New York City from Frederick, Md., where she worked for four years as a multimedia reporter at the second-largest daily newspaper in Maryland. She interned at Baltimore magazine and graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (in the town of Indiana, in the state of Pennsylvania) with a degree in journalism and mass communications.