A Nov. 29 article from CNN by Donie O'Sullivan reported that Twitter is no longer labeling posts that contain misinformation about COVID-19 and supplying legitimate information.
O'Sullivan writes that “Twitter said it will no longer enforce its longstanding COVID misinformation policy, yet another sign of how Elon Musk plans to transform the social media company he bought a month ago.”
In 2020, Twitter implemented rules that aimed to stop “harmful misinformation” about COVID and vaccines.
“Between January 2020 and September 2022, Twitter suspended more than 11,000 accounts for breaking Covid misinformation rules and removed almost 100,000 pieces of content that violated those rules, according to statistics published by Twitter,” O'Sullivan adds. “The policy received acclaim from medical professionals: In an advisory to technology platforms, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy cited Twitter’s rules as an example of what companies should do to combat misinformation.”
Twitter did not make the rule change apparent or make a formal announcement. The organization’s website simply now states in its transparency section on COVID-19 misinformation that “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”
In an article from CNBC by Ashley Capoot, she reports that “Twitter CEO Elon Musk has been a vocal critic of how health officials reacted to the coronavirus pandemic. He said during the company’s first-quarter 2020 earnings call that the stay-at-home orders were ‘forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights.’ He also said on ‘The Joe Rogan Experience’ podcast in 2020 that the mortality rate of COVID-19 was much lower than health officials estimated.”
“Musk has committed to free speech on Twitter, which might partially explain why the change was enacted,” Capoot comments. “But online safety experts have contended his approach has led to an increase in hate speech, harassment and misinformation on the platform.”
On Nov. 28, Musk tweeted: “This is a battle for the future of civilization. If free speech is lost even in America, tyranny is all that lies ahead.”