Twitter’s “COVID-19 false information policy” has been quietly modified to include new fines for tweets concerning vaccines, PCR tests, and health authorities. The removal and labelling of tweets are among the sanctions. Both sorts of sanctions result in Twitter users accruing strikes, which can lead to a permanent suspension of their accounts.
One of the most noticeable modifications we detected in this “COVID-19 false information policy” is the allegation that vaccinated people can spread the coronavirus.
Twitter’s new policy specifies that “corrective information” will be labelled on tweets, and users will receive a strike if they: claim that “the vaccines will cause you to be sick, spread the virus, or would be more harmful than getting COVID-19”; post what Twitter describes as “false or misleading claims that people who have received the vaccine can spread or shed the virus (or symptoms, or immunity) to unvaccinated people”.
This implies that Twitter users who share or discuss the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statement that “vaccinated people can still become sick and have the ability to spread the virus to others” may now face sanctions.
Another change is that if Twitter determines that a user’s claims “misrepresent research or statistical findings pertaining to the severity of the disease, prevalence of the virus, or effectiveness of widely accepted preventative measures, treatments, or vaccines,” it will strike and label the user’s tweets.
Furthermore, if users claim that “vaccines approved by health agencies (such as Pfizer’s Comirnaty vaccine in the United States) did not actually receive full approval/authorization, and thus that the vaccines are untested, ‘experimental,’ or somehow unsafe,” Twitter will give them two strikes and remove their tweets.
This appears to be a response to criticism of a footnote in the FDA’s “full authorization” paperwork for the Pfizer-BioNTech (Comirnaty) vaccine that disclosed the FDA had extended the vaccine’s emergency-use authorization.