Twitter tweaks search to curb spread of misinformation on vaccines

By Vignesh Giridharan | Updated 15 May 2019
Twitter tweaks search to curb spread of misinformation on vaccines
  • Twitter tweaks its search tool to help users get the right information on vaccines.
  • Misinformation on vaccines is reportedly spreading through the US at the moment.

Tech and social media companies, including Twitter, are facing steadily mounting  pressure from US lawmakers, health experts, and activists over the increasing spread of misinformation on vaccines, reported CNET yesterday. Recent spread of misinformation may reportedly have contributed to an outbreak of measles in parts of the US. In a bid to combat the spread of misinformation, Twitter has tweaked its search tool to direct users towards the right source of information: the US Department of Health & Human Services.

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More specifically, what Twitter has done is add a public service message to the search section of Twitter. Clicking on the search icon on Twitter should bring up the search  page with the following message on it: "Know the facts. To make sure you get the best information on vaccinations, resources are available from the US Department of Health & Human Services." The message is followed by a link to vaccines.gov and a  shortcut to the official Twitter handle of the US Department of Health & Human Services.

"The new search prompt is available on iOS, Android, and mobile.twitter.com in the United States (in English and Spanish), Canada (in English and French), UK, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. If you search on twitter.com, there’s a pinned Tweet with information from trusted partners," writes Twitter in its blog post on the matter.

According to Twitter, the company is already providing useful prompts of this kind to users who search for terms associated with suicide or self-harm as part of its #ThereIsHelp initiative. "We already ensure that advertising content does not contain misleading claims about the cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention of certain diseases and conditions, including vaccines," adds the American social networking brand.

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Vignesh Giridharan
Progressively identifies more with the term ‘legacy device’ as time marches on.
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