Twitter on April 22 dismissed reports that its platform is being used by fake accounts to manipulate conversations around coronavirus outbreak. The clarification from Twitter came after reports emerged that the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) is allegedly using the micro-blogging platform to change the discourse on coronavirus with the association of the United Kingdom government. A spokesperson for the company has now told the press that there is no evidence to support the accusations.
The accusation was first made by John O'Connell, a writer for the website Far-Right Watch, who claimed that he has verified 128 such accounts. The DHSC has also dismissed the claims suggesting that it was not only wild but completely false. According to reports, the DHSC has said that John O'Connell has provided no evidence to support his claims, but the Far-Right Watch writer says that he has evidence which he will publish slowly as he is currently concerned about the legal protections that may follow.
Twitter has teamed up with global and state health agencies like the World Health Organisation (WHO) to fight the misinformation surrounding COVID-19. Twitter in a statement had said, "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."
On preventing manipulation on its platform, Twitter had said, "At present, we’re not seeing significant coordinated attempts to spread disinformation at scale about this issue. However, we will remain vigilant and have invested significantly in our proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviors. As ever, those who engage in these practices will be removed from our service."