In the United States and other countries, measles outbreaks continue to get worse. Health officials have blame vaccine misinformation for an increase in the number of measles cases. Keeping this in mind, Twitter is introducing new search tools that can help users to find credible and authoritative sources about vaccines.
The social medical platform will also stop autosuggestion search terms, which may lead users to misinformation about vaccines.
Twitter vice president of trust and safety wrote Del Harvey wrote, “At Twitter, we understand the importance of vaccines in preventing illness and disease and recognize the role that Twitter plays in disseminating important public health information. We think it’s important to help people find reliable information that enhances their health and well-being.”
When users search for vaccine-related keywords, they will notice a prompt, which directs them to resources from Twitter’s information partners.
In the United States, the website is vaccines.gov, which is runby the Department of Health and Human Services. Also, a pinned tweet from one of Twitter’s partners will appear.
In addition to the United States, the vaccine information search tools will also appear on iOS and Android apps in the United Kingdom, Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Korea, Japan, Singapore, as well as Spanish-speaking Latin American countries.
Harvey explained that Twitter’s new vaccine information tools are similar to those that were launched for “suicide and self-harm prevention” last year. She added, “The company plans to launch similar features for other public health issues over the coming months.”
Earlier this week, the CDC said measles cases in the United States had increased to 839.
Other social media platforms have been criticized for not doing enough to prevent the spread of vaccine misinformation. They started taking measures when measles cases began to rise. For instance, earlier this year, YouTube announced that it is taking out all anti-vaccine videos. Also, Facebook began to rank down anti-vaccine content on its News Feed and completely removing it from Instagram.