Twitter has stopped enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy in another change under Elon Musk's ownership




Chesnot/Getty Images
Chesnot/Getty Images  
  • Twitter is no longer enforcing its COVID-19 misleading information policy, per a post on its website.

  • The misinformation policy was created in March 2020 as COVID-19 spread worldwide.

  • This is one of many changes around content moderation that has occurred under Elon Musk's ownership.

Twitter is no longer enforcing its COVID-19 misleading information policy that it put in place in March 2020, per a post on the company's website.

The update to the policy was made effective on November 23 and is an indicator of how the platform's new owner, Elon Musk, is changing the company.

On March 27, 2020, Twitter updated its content moderation policy to require people to remove tweets that "are intended to influence others to violate recommended COVID-19 related guidance from global or local health authorities to decrease someone's likelihood of exposure to COVID-19."

The policy also targeted tweets that made misleading claims about "unharmful but ineffective methods" that "are cures or absolute treatments for COVID-19."

In March 2021, Twitter doubled down, announcing it would use automated and human reviewers to find and label tweets with misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The platform also introduced a strike system where users with five or more "strikes" for misleading posts would be permanently suspended from Twitter.

Between January 2020 and September 2022, Twitter said it suspended over 11,000 accounts and removed almost 100,000 pieces of content worldwide for violating its COVID-19 misinformation policy.

Musk, himself, has a history of using Twitter to spread COVID-19 misinformation and of not following COVID-19 guidelines. In May 2020, he reopened a California Tesla factory, despite local stay-at-home guidelines, and two months later, tweeted misleading theories about COVID-19 death rates.

Now, he is making it so users on the platform can say whatever they want about the virus.

It's one of many policy changes around content moderation that's been established since Twitter came under Musk's ownership.

Musk has reversed several Twitter bans, reinstating Donald Trump's account, for example. And last week, after conducting a Twitter poll asking if he should reinstate other suspended accounts that have "not broken the law" or engaged in "egregious spam," he declared that "amnesty" for these suspended accounts would begin this week.

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