Twitter said Monday it plans to put labels and warning messages on some tweets that contain disputed or misleading information related to Covid-19, even if it’s tweeted by President Donald Trump.
Twitter (TWTR) announced in March that it would remove Covid-19 tweets that could cause a “direct risk to people’s health or well-being.” Starting Monday, it will use labels and warning messages “to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a Tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content.”
Trump, possibly Twitter’s most prolific user, will also be subject to the rules, according to Yoel Roth, Twitter’s head of site integrity.
“These labels will apply to anyone sharing misleading information that meets the requirements of our policy, including world leaders,” Roth wrote in a tweet Monday in response to a question about how the policy would apply to Trump and other elected officials.
At a White House briefing in April, Trump dangerously suggested ingesting disinfectants could help cure coronavirus. Trump has also promoted unproven drug therapies for the virus.
For Twitter, the hard part arguably isn’t introducing the policy, but implementing it consistently.
Twitter announced last summer that it would label tweets from world leaders that broke its rules. But a month after Twitter announced the policy, the company said tweets in which the president used racist language to attack four progressive Democratic congresswoman were not against its rules — a conclusion apparently contradicted by Twitter’s written policies.
In March, Twitter labeled a deceptively edited video of former Vice President Joe Biden that was retweeted by Trump as “manipulated media.” The action prompted blowback from the White House and Trump supporters. Twitter acknowledged at the time that it had experienced issues implementing the label on the video and it was not showing for all users.