Social Media giant Twitter is reportedly launching a new feature which aims to stop the spread of what it labels as misinformation about vaccines across its platform.
TechCrunch reports that social media giant Twitter is introducing a new search tool aimed at helping users find what the company considers to be credible sources of information on vaccines following a recent measles outbreak in the United States. Twitter’s search function will also stop suggesting terms which could lead to what it labels misinformation around the subject on its platform.
In a blog post, Twitter’s vice president of trust and safety Del Harvey stated: “At Twitter, we understand the importance of vaccines in preventing illness and disease and recognize the role that Twitter plays in disseminating important public health information. We think it’s important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and well-being.”
When users search for keywords related to vaccines, they’ll also see an information prompt with a redirect link that sends them to resources compiled by organizations that have partnered with Twitter. This includes vaccines.gov, a website by the Department of Health and Human Services. A screenshot of the redirect prompt can be seen below:
A similar prompt will appear on Twitter’s mobile apps in Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries. In the blog post, Harvey compared the new initiative to one aimed at suicide prevention set up by Twitter some time ago. Harvey writes: “We already do this when individuals search for terms associated with suicide or self-harm as part of our #ThereIsHelp initiative and hope to expand it to other important public health issues in the coming months. Additionally, we will not auto-suggest queries that are likely to direct individuals to non-credible commentary and information about vaccines.”
A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said measles cases in the U.S. had increased to 839. Cases have been noted in 23 U.S. states with almost 700 being reported in New York.