If you search for tweets related to vaccines as of Friday, the first thing you see on Twitter is a post from the United States Department of Health and Human Services pointing you to reliable health information instead of anti-vax misinformation.
Last week, Twitter announced that it would be launching a new tool in search that would prompt users to head to vaccines.org, which is run by officials at HHS. Over the past few months, social media companies like Facebook and Twitter have faced intense pressure from lawmakers and the public to remove anti-vaccination propaganda from their platforms.
“We’re committed to protecting the health of the public conversation on Twitter,” the blog post read. “Ensuring individuals can find information from authoritative sources is a key part of that mission.”
The tool only shows up on Android, iOS, and Twitter’s mobile site in the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, and Korea as of right now. The desktop version of the tool is accessible to users in Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and countries in Latin America that are predominantly Spanish-speaking.
Twitter has used a similar tool that prompts users who search for terms related to suicide to contact a hotline for help. According to the blog post, Twitter intends to extend this tool to other health-related search terms in the future.
“This new investment builds on our existing work to guard against the artificial amplification of non-credible content about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines,” the blog said.
Last week, it was announced that Instagram would hide search results for anti-vax hashtags on its platform, effectively blocking any associated content from surfacing. In March, Facebook said that it would work to curb vaccine misinformation, but reporters have continued to find posts intended to dissuade people from being vaccinated.
Source: The Verge