Twitter cracks down on anti-vaxx content with new search tools

Twitter is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Instagram by launching new tools to help prevent the spread of anti-vaccination misinformation. 

Users will now be directed to a 'credible public health resource' when they conduct a search using specific keywords associated with vaccines, Twitter said on Tuesday.

The new tool is being rolled out on Twitter's iOS and Android apps, as well as its desktop website, for users in the US, Canada, UK, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.

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Twitter is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Instagram by launching tools to prevent the spread of anti-vaccination misinformation. The tool is available in the US and other areas

Twitter is following in the footsteps of Facebook and Instagram by launching tools to prevent the spread of anti-vaccination misinformation. The tool is available in the US and other areas

HOW DOES THE TOOL WORK? 
Now, when users search for tweets related to vaccines, they'll be shown a notice at the top of results.  A tweet or warning will direct users to information from a 'credible public health resource.'  In the US, users will be told to visit 'vaccine.gov,' a resource managed by the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Twitter is rolling out the tool for both its iOS and Android apps, as well as its desktop site. 

Twitter said the tool is being rolled out as part of its broader efforts to 'protect the health of public conversation' on its platform.  

'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,' Del Harvey, vice president of Trust and Safety at Twitter, said in a statement.

'We think it's important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and well-being.'  

For mobile users, a notice will appear in search results that says 'Know the facts' and directs users to 'vaccines.gov,' a resource managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

On desktops, a tweet will be pinned to the top of search results from HHS.gov, directing users to the vaccines.gov website. 

While the tool succeeds in preventing anti-vaxx content from being prominently featured in search results, it's not as effective in other areas.

Twitter's 'Who to Follow' column, which uses an algorithm to make account suggestions, still surfaced anti-vaxx content

Twitter's 'Who to Follow' column, which uses an algorithm to make account suggestions, still surfaced anti-vaxx content

Twitter's 'Who to Follow' column, which uses an algorithm to make account suggestions, still recommends that users follow accounts

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