Twitter vaccine “search nudge” expands to Europe

Twitter vaccine “search nudge” expands to Europe

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Amid an intense pro- and anti-vaccination debate, Twitter rolled out a new search tool in partnership with the US Department of Health to prevent the spread of vaccine misinformation. Now, Twitter has a new partner – Ireland's Health Service Executive (HSE).

Background: Twitter announced in May that when users search for vaccine information, the first thing they would see is a link to vaccines.gov – a website run by the US Department of Health, whom the company partnered with. This applied to the U.S., U.K., Brazil, Indonesia, Singapore, Japan, and Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.

Twitter said that this way, users would be prompted to use reliable sources when seeking information about vaccination, instead of reading what they described as misleading anti-vaccination claims.

Now, Twitter will show Irish users a link to a Health Service Executive page that contains vaccination information, at the top of an individual's Twitter search results.

Statement: "Twitter's main priority as a company is to protect the health of the public conversation on the platform - ensuring individuals can find information from authoritative sources like the HSE is a key part of that mission. We understand the importance of vaccines in preventing illness and disease and recognize the role that Twitter plays in disseminating important public health information. This collaboration with the HSE will ensure people who seek information about vaccinations on Twitter can easily access reliable and credible information," said Karen White, Twitter’s director of public policy in Europe.

The question: To some, it appears that Twitter is taking sides in the vaccination debate. Is it OK for Twitter to weigh in on such issues?

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