MANILA — Twitter is looking to help Filipinos fight off the coronavirus (COVID-19) as it launched a dedicated page highlighting only news from reputable sites and experts and expanding its guidelines to cover tweets that run the risk of spreading dangerous misinformation.
As of this week, Twitter users in the Philippines will be shown an event page featuring real-time credible and official information about COVID-19 whenever they click on their home timelines on mobile, and under the ‘explore’ tab when opening their accounts on a desktop.
The site will also remove posts that goes against these official guidance information, which they say “increases the chance that someone contracts of transmits the virus.”
This “zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation” includes posts that fall into the following:
- Denial of expert guidance;
- Encouragement to use fake or ineffective treatments, preventions, and diagnostic techniques; and
- Misleading content purporting to be from experts or authorities.
Twitter said that they have worked with the country’s Department of Health and the World Health Organization Philippines in implementing these changes.
They added that people can expect an uptick of verified accounts, as they race to identify global public health authorities and experts on the site to help in the fight against misinformation.
These measures echo the government’s warning that spreading fake news in the time of a state of public health emergency, citing the false reports of mass looting in Manila, is punishable by law.
As of Tuesday, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the Philippines has passed the 550 mark.