Over 112m Covid-related Tweets posted in UK to date

  • More than 112 million tweets about Covid-19 have been posted since the beginning of 2020, Twitter has revealed, as the platform defended its role as a space for “healthy conversation”.

    The micro-blogging site published statistics which it said show that since January last year, hashtags encouraging people to stay at home to save lives and to wear a mask have dominated online discussions.

    The social media giant argued argued that it has updated its rules since the start of the pandemic to combat harmful content, after being widely criticised for the scale of misinformation and conspiracy theories that have been allowed to spread online, including false claims linking the virus with 5G and around vaccine safety.

    Earlier in 2021, Home Secretary Priti Patel said the platforms had a “social responsibility” to do more to stop the spread of misinformation and should have better fact-checking procedures in place.

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    Twitter claimed it had removed 37,900 tweets and “challenged” 11.5 million accounts globally for what it called “spammy and manipulative behaviour” around the coronavirus crisis.

    Katy Minshall, Twitter’s head of public policy and philanthropy in the UK, pointed to the site’s work with the NHS and other health organisations to promote official guidance around the pandemic as evidence of its efforts to 'promote healthy conversation online'.

    The platform introduced a dedicated tab to direct people to verified information about the virus from official health sources, while users who search for terms linked to Covid-19 are now shown a prompt that directs them to official NHS and Government guidance on the virus and vaccine programme

    Twitter has also offered free advertising credits to non-profit organisations taking part in the global coronavirus response.

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    “Twitter continues to work with local public health authorities, including the NHS, to amplify credible, verified public health information for those on Twitter," Ms Minshall said.

    “As well as this, it’s encouraging to see that the conversation on Twitter helped promote safe public health behaviours through the #StayAtHome hashtag.

    “We continue to iterate and build on product, partnership and policy updates, keeping up with the Covid-19 conversation on Twitter.

    “As we see vaccine programmes roll out around the globe, our work and partnerships in this space remain of the utmost importance in protecting the health of the public conversation.”

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