Twitter Ramps Up Fight Against Misleading Covid-19 Information

Twitter (TWTR) has updated its approach to misleading Covid-19 information to limit the spread of potentially harmful content.

Starting today, the social media giant is introducing new labels and warning messages that will provide additional context and information on some Tweets containing disputed or misleading information related to COVID-19. This will also apply to Tweets sent before today.

In March, the company broadened its policy guidance to address content that goes directly against guidance on COVID-19 from authoritative sources of global and local public health information.

“Moving forward, we may use these labels and warning messages to provide additional explanations or clarifications in situations where the risks of harm associated with a Tweet are less severe but where people may still be confused or misled by the content” says Twitter.

This will make it easier to find facts and make informed decisions about what people see on Twitter, the company argues. The labels will link to a Twitter-curated page or external trusted source containing additional information on the claims made within the Tweet.

TWTR has just reported mixed 1Q results, with revenue of $808MM (+4% yr/yr ex- FX) coming in nearly 8% below Street expectations- with ad revenue declining 27% YoY over the last 20 days of the quarter due to Covid-19.

However, monetizable daily active users (mDAUs) grew a strong 24% yr/yr to 166M (vs. +21% in 4Q), marking the highest quarterly YY growth rate since management began reporting mDAU.

“We view Twitter as a transformative real-time news platform, but one where product complexity has limited user growth potential, contributing among other factors to limiting advertiser demand” commented Wells Fargo analyst Brian Fitzgerald on May 1. He has a hold rating on the stock and $28 price target.

Overall, the rest of the Street shares this cautious outlook. Twitter has a Hold analyst consensus with an average analyst price target of $31 (4% upside potential). The stock is currently trading down 7% on a year-to-date basis.(See TWTR stock analysis on TipRanks).

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