Twitter has introduced a new strikes system intended to combat coronavirus vaccine misinformation. Under the new policy announced in a blog post on Monday, users who repeatedly spread harmful or misleading information on the COVID-19 vaccines may soon find themselves permanently suspended.
Of course, said users will get a few warning shots before they’re booted off Twitter entirely. Accounts that violate Twitter’s COVID-19 policy will first be notified when action is taken against their account, giving them time to reconsider and change their misinformed ways.
“Through the use of the strike system, we hope to educate people on why certain content breaks our rules so they have the opportunity to further consider their behavior and their impact on the public conversation,” wrote Twitter.
It’s a rather optimistic view of the impact of a Twitter ban, but at least it’s something.
According to Twitter, one strike will be recorded against an account for its first violation, but no action will be taken against the account. Upon the second and third strikes, a 12-hour account lock will be applied for each. Four strikes bumps that up to a seven day lock, and a fifth strike means it’s bye bye birdie.
It’s currently unclear if strikes will expire, or if they’ll hang around forever in an account’s dark, shameful past. Mashable has contacted Twitter for comment.
Twitter has also announced it will begin labelling tweets that might contain misleading information about coronavirus vaccines. The social media website has previously applied similar labels in order to flag misinformation surrounding the U.S. presidential election, as well as content that “may have been obtained through hacking.”
These labels will initially be applied by human moderators, before being used to teach Twitter’s automated moderation systems to make such assessments.
“Our goal is to eventually use both automated and human review to address content that violates our COVID-19 vaccine misinformation rules,” wrote Twitter.
Monday’s announcement isn’t the first action Twitter has taken to try stopping anti-vax rhetoric from running rampant on the platform. In May 2019, before the long international coronavirus nightmare began, Twitter introduced in-app messages directing users to credible public health resources when they searched for terms associated with vaccines.
With over 500,000 people in America dead due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s now more important than ever to stop dangerous vaccine misinformation from spreading.