Mar 30, 2020 - Technology

Twitter cracks down on coronavirus misinformation from Giuliani, Bolsonaro

Rudy Giuliani speaks
Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

It's notable that Twitter, like other social networks, has announced stricter rules on virus-related misinformation than other types of false posts. Even more notable, though, is that Twitter has actually enforced its rules against prominent accounts in recent days.

Why it matters: Twitter has been criticized for being lax to enforce its rules, particularly against well-known politicians and celebrities.

Driving the news: Twitter temporarily locked the account of The Federalist after it linked to one of its articles suggesting the best way to approach the coronavirus was to spread it to as many young people as possible quickly in order to build immunity.

  • Twitter deleted a tweet from Rudy Giuliani quoting conservative activist Charlie Kirk, who touted hydroxychloroquine, an anti-malaria drug, as a cure for the coronavirus. (It has yet to be scientifically determined to be effective at treating COVID-19.)
  • Twitter deleted a pair of tweets by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro that cast doubt on the need for quarantines. Bolsonaro has downplayed the risks of the coronavirus.

Twitter has made several adjustments to its rules specifically targeting misinformation about COVID-19, including how it is spread and transmitted as well as cures and treatments not backed up by medical authorities.

Yes, but: There are plenty of examples of Twitter failing to act, even regarding the coronavirus. The company allowed to stand a tweet from Elon Musk that said that children were immune from COVID-19 (they aren't) as well as other tweets of dubious veracity.

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