To see all of the latest steps Twitter is taking in response to COVID-19, visit covid19.twitter.com.
Updated April 1, 2020
As the entire world faces an unprecedented public health emergency, we want to be open about the challenges we are facing and the contingency measures we’re putting in place to serve the public conversation at this critical time. We are regularly working with and looking to trusted partners, including public health authorities, organizations, and governments to inform our approach.
We will keep three blog posts updated on a rolling basis and encourage everyone to consult with them regularly for updates:
Steps we’re taking
As we continue to provide guidance to our employees that they must work from home to support self-distancing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19, we also need to operationally pivot our core efforts to keep people safe on Twitter.
Increasing our use of machine learning and automation to take a wide range of actions on potentially abusive and manipulative content. We want to be clear: while we work to ensure our systems are consistent, they can sometimes lack the context that our teams bring, and this may result in us making mistakes. As a result, we will not permanently suspend any accounts based solely on our automated enforcement systems. Instead, we will continue to look for opportunities to build in human review checks where they will be most impactful. We appreciate your patience as we work to get it right – this is a necessary step to scale our work to protect the conversation on Twitter.
How are we using automated technology during this time?
What you can expect if you file a report during this time:
We appreciate your patience as we work to keep our teams safe, while also making sure we're protecting everyone on Twitter. You can always continue to use hide replies, mute, block, reply filters, and the other tools we offer you to control conversations on the service.
Keeping the service running and the Tweets flowing is one of our top priorities in these difficult times. Our work has never been more critical and our service has never been in higher demand. In the past few weeks, we have seen more and more people turn to Twitter to participate in the public conversation and follow what’s happening in real time.
While many of our teams are transitioning to working from home, some of our infrastructure teams have physical responsibilities that are critical to keeping our data centers, and Twitter, up and running. These teams are operating under the “essential services” provisions dedicated in City, County and State orders to ensure business continuity. We couldn’t keep the Tweets flowing without their daily dedication and hard work.
The combination of the new work environment and the increased load on our platform has placed unique stresses on our operations, requiring our engineering teams to work more closely together than ever to respond to new demands, and to plan for the future. From our IT, Network and Product Engineering teams to our infrastructure and data center teams, we have collectively mobilized to ensure we are able to stay safe and productive under the stress of the new levels of traffic we’re seeing on our service.
The effects of COVID-19 on Twitter have already surpassed any event we’ve seen, and it’s possible that as the pandemic continues, we will see additional stress on our service. Beyond Twitter, COVID-19 has also had a far-sweeping impact on our supply chain partners. Whereas normally we'd have months of lead time to add hardware capacity for expected growth, in this case, manufacturing delays in China have compromised the supply chain, resulting in delays in deliveries to our data centers. Our Data Center, SiteOps, Supply Chain, Hardware Engineering and Mission Critical teams continue to manage the physical infrastructure that underlies the service -- expertly innovating to unlock additional capacity in existing supply.
Our teams are actively addressing areas where we need to add capacity to critical services, looking at how we can optimize existing technology to be more performant, and planning for how we might adjust to the way people are using Twitter during this time.
It’s critical for Twitter to stay up and running through this global crisis. Our teams are focused, and as we make changes to our systems to meet these new demands, we will communicate openly. We will share what we’ve done, what we’ve learned, and if we see incidents, what we will do to recover as quickly as possible. Follow @TwitterEng to stay up to date.
Broadening our definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information. Rather than reports, we will enforce this in close coordination with trusted partners, including public health authorities and governments, and continue to use and consult with information from those sources when reviewing content.
Under this guidance, we will require people to remove tweets that include:
Building systems that enable our team to continue to enforce our rules remotely around the world. We’re also increasing our employee assistance and wellness support for everyone involved in this critical work, and ensuring people’s privacy and security stay a top priority.
Instituting a global content severity triage system so we are prioritizing the potential rule violations that present the biggest risk of harm and reducing the burden on people to report them.
Executing daily quality assurance checks on our content enforcement processes to ensure we’re agile in responding to this rapidly evolving, global disease outbreak.
Engaging with our partners around the world to ensure escalation paths remain open and urgent cases can be brought to our attention.
Continuing to review the Twitter Rules in the context of COVID-19 and considering ways in which they may need to evolve to account for new behaviors.
As we’ve said on many occasions, our approach to protecting the public conversation is never static. That’s particularly relevant in these unprecedented times. We intend to review our thinking daily and will ensure we’re sharing updates here on any new clarifications to our rules or major changes to how we’re enforcing them.
Finally, we’re encouraged that our service is being used around the world to provide free, authoritative health information, and to ensure that everyone has access to the conversations they need to protect themselves and their families. For more, our dedicated COVID-19 Event page has the latest facts right at the top of your timeline, and we’ll continue to share updates @TwitterSafety and @TwitterSupport.