Twitter to remove misleading tweets about COVID-19 vaccines

The company also plans to start labeling tweets that present misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines in early 2021.

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Queenie Wong was a senior writer for CNET News, focusing on social media companies including Facebook's parent company Meta, Twitter and TikTok. Before joining CNET, she worked for The Mercury News in San Jose and the Statesman Journal in Salem, Oregon. A native of Southern California, she took her first journalism class in middle school.
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Vaccine misinformation is a no-no on Twitter.

James Martin/CNET

Twitter is cracking down on misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.

On Wednesday, the social network said that starting on Dec. 21 it may require users to remove tweets that "advance harmful false or misleading narratives about COVID-19 vaccinations." Some of those narratives include false claims that vaccines are being used to harm or control populations or that a COVID-19 vaccine is unnecessary. 

Twitter said in a blog post it will prioritize taking steps against misleading information about COVID-19 vaccines that could cause the most harm.

The company also said that in early 2021 it will start labeling or placing warnings on tweets that promote rumors, misinformation, incomplete or out-of-context information about vaccines. The labels could direct people to accurate health information or Twitter's rules.

The move comes as social networks, including Facebook, battle an onslaught of misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines and the novel coronavirus. Earlier this month, Facebook vowed to remove false claims about COVID-19 vaccines. Last week,  the US Food and Drug Administration approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in the US, but vaccine doses aren't expected to be available to the general public until the middle of 2021.

See also: First US COVID-19 vaccinations have begun. Where you are in line and how long you could wait

Watch this: Will a COVID-19 vaccine be a triumph of science or soul-searching?