In March of this year, health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock stated that he wanted new legislation to force social media companies to remove content promoting false information about vaccines. This request seems to have been granted with Twitter announcing this week that it plans to present reliable information about vaccines to help combat misconceptions being spread on the platform. These intentions were laid out in a blog post by Del Harvey, vice-president of trust and safety at Twitter.
The company has stated that these measures aim to ensure that “advertising content does not contain misleading claims about the cure, treatment, diagnosis or prevention of certain diseases and conditions, including vaccines.” Twitter has taken a similar approach in the past in the context of suicide and self-harm.
Users who search for certain vaccine-related keywords will now be shown a post from which will direct them towards a credible source on vaccines. In the US, Twitter have partnered with the US Department of Health & Human Services, who will direct users towards their site vaccines.gov.
A similar search prompt is also available in Canada, the UK, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and in Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.
This will be welcome news to the World Health Organisation (WHO) who declared the anti-vaccine movement to be one of the top global health threats for 2019.