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Twitter clamps on coronavirus misinformation and ‘opportunistic’ ads

Twitter will issue advertising credits to non-profit organisations wishing to undertake fact-checking work

Twitter is doubling down on global efforts to stem the spread of misinformation and ‘opportunistic’ advertising in response to a growing public discourse on the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

As a first step the platform has put in place a proactive search prompt in close to 50 countries; including Hong Kong, South Korea and Singapore to ensure that anyone seeking out news and information on the virus is presented with credible and authoritative content in the first instance.

In the wake of a high-profile clampdown on ‘alarmist’ facemask adverts by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the UK, Twitter has also pledged to bring its own house in order by stopping advertisers seeking to profit from public fears. As part of this, the platform will ban any promotions which breach its inappropriate content policy.

Moreover, Twitter will also issue advertising credits to non-profit organisations wishing to undertake fact-checking work or convey reputable public health information.

Facebook has been exploring a similar interventionist approach, inking a partnership with the World Health Organisation (WHO) last week to provide free advertising that seeks to debunk fake news with "credible and accurate" information.

Keeping the public informed and preventing widespread fear and panic has become a number one priority for administrations around the world as they seek to head off the possibility of a global pandemic. This has seen governments and social networks work together to curtail the spread of misinformation as well as Covid-19.