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Stepping up our work to protect the public conversation around Covid-19

By Twitter Public Policy
Wednesday, 4 March 2020

We recently revised our travel policy to ensure we’re playing our part in the global containment efforts relating to coronavirus (Covid-19). In tandem, our entire company is stepping up its internal and external efforts to build partnerships, protect the public conversation, help people find authoritative health information, raise relief funds, and contribute pro bono advertising support to ensure people are getting the right message, from the right source. 

With a critical mass of expert organizations, official government accounts, health professionals, and epidemiologists on our service, our goal is to elevate and amplify authoritative health information as far as possible.

Global expansion of the Covid-19 search prompt 
Launched six days before the official designation of the virus in January, we continue to expand our dedicated search prompt feature to ensure that when you come to the service for information about Covid-19, you are met with credible, authoritative content at the top of your search experience. We have been consistently monitoring the conversation on the service to make sure keywords — including common misspellings — also generate the search prompt. 

In each country where we have launched the initiative, we have partnered with the national public health agency or the World Health Organization (@WHO) directly. The proactive search prompt is in place with official local partnerships in over 70 countries around the world.

They include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Paraguay, Philippines, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Vietnam, and Yemen.

Protecting the conversation
The power of a uniquely open service during a public health emergency is clear. The speed and borderless nature of Twitter presents an extraordinary opportunity to get the word out and ensure people have access to the latest information from expert sources around the world.

To support that mission, our global Trust & Safety team is continuing its zero-tolerance approach to platform manipulation and any other attempts to abuse our service at this critical juncture. At present, we’re not seeing significant coordinated platform manipulation efforts around these issues. However, we will remain vigilant and have invested substantially in our proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviors. As ever, we also welcome constructive and open information sharing from governments and academics to further our work in these areas — we’re in this together. 

We have also ensured the Events feature contains credible information about Covid-19 and is available at the top of the home timeline for everyone in Japan, South Korea, Australia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Spain, the UAE, the UK and the US.

#AdsForGood support & additional protections
Based on our Inappropriate Content Policy, we will halt any attempt by advertisers to opportunistically use the Covid-19 outbreak to target inappropriate ads. Government entities that want to disseminate public health information will be permitted to promote ads on Covid-19. In the case of Covid-19, we have put additional safeguards into place in order to facilitate the sharing of trusted public health information and to reduce potential harm to users. We are currently prohibiting the promotion of all medical masks and alcohol hand sanitizers due to strong correlation to Covid-19 and instances of inflated prices globally.

In addition, we’re committing Ads for Good credits to nonprofit organizations to ensure they can build campaigns to fact-check and get reputable health information to the widest possible audiences. For example, as part of the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN/@factchecknet), we have supported the Spanish organization @maldita_es and @malditobulo, which focuses on mitigating the impact of disinformation on public discourse through fact-checking and data journalism techniques. In Asia, we have partnered with the Taiwan Fact Checking Center (@taiwantfc), which has been using Twitter to connect with IFCN fact checkers around the world via #CoronavirusFacts. They are working in real-time to find credible information and debunk rumors in Chinese.

Furthering our partnerships 
Our Global Public Policy team has open lines of communication with relevant multinational stakeholders, including the World Health Organization, numerous global government and public health organizations, and officials around the world, to ensure they can troubleshoot account issues, get their experts verified, and seek strategic counsel as they use the power of Twitter to mitigate harm. 

We’re also in close contact with our industry peers and will attend all relevant cross-functional meetings. As a uniquely open service, our data is being used in research every day and our researchers hub is publicly available. We welcome applications for the use of Twitter data to support research on Covid-19. We will also explore further #DataForGood partnerships to assess how our data products can enhance academic and NGO understanding of public health emergencies now and into the future. 

Playing our part through donation matching 
We've set up a dedicated internal Covid-19 campaign page through our employee donation matching program to support humanitarian response and relief efforts around the world. Any Twitter employee can donate to relevant nonprofit organizations, and Twitter will match donations up to $2,000 per employee. 

What can you do? 
Looking for advice on how best to use Twitter in a time like this? Follow @WHO and your local health ministry — seek out the authoritative health information and ignore the noise. See something suspicious or abusive, report it to us immediately. Most importantly, think before you Tweet. Through Twitter Moments, we have curated longer-form content that helps tell the full story of what’s happening around Covid-19 globally. For educators and parents, consult our media literacy guide, which was built in partnership with @UNESCO, here

We’re absolutely committed to playing our part and will continue to provide substantive updates as this situation evolves. For more, follow @TwitterSafety and @Policy.

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