Twitter is making a firm stand against anti-vaccine sentiments as an increasing number of outbreaks of preventable diseases occur across the United States.
The popular social media site has introduced a new search tool that is meant to help users find credible sources about vaccines.
"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," stated
Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety at Twitter. "We think it's important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and well-being."
Twitter Takes A Stand
With the new tool in place, the social media site will offer links to "credible public health resource" when users search for keywords associated with vaccines. A pinned tweet linking to the website vaccines.gov ran
by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services will also appear when a user searches for keywords related to the vaccine.
A similar tool is already in place for keywords associated with self-harm and suicide. It was introduced to the website last year.
Twitter also will not be auto-suggesting queries that might lead the user to non-credible commentary about vaccines.
"This new investment builds are existing work to guard against the artificial amplification of non-credible content about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines," the announcement reads. "We already ensure that advertising content does not contain misleading claims about the cure, treatment, diagnosis, or prevention of certain diseases and conditions, including vaccines."
The new tool will be rolled out to iOS and Android app as well as Twitter's mobile website. In addition to the United States, the tool will also be rolled out in Canada, the United Kingdom, Brazil, Korea, Japan, Indonesia, Singapore, and Latin American countries.
Preventing Spread Of Misinformation Online
The move comes as a response to the increasing pressure of social media platforms to do something about the rapid spread of fake news and misinformation on the internet. Other companies have adopted changes to prevent the public from finding anti-vaccine content.
Earlier this year, YouTube announced that it will demonetize anti-vaccine videos. Facebook, meanwhile, is downranking anti-vaccine content
on its News Feed and on Instagram. Amazon took down a documentary
purporting that vaccines cause autism which has been proven to be false by several studies
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has raised
the number of cases of measles in the United States to 839. The highly contagious disease has been found in 23 states.