Twitter Ends COVID Misinformation Policy

    Twitter Ends COVID Misinformation Policy
    Last updated Dec 05, 2022
    Image credit: Bloomberg/Getty Images [via Axios]


    • Twitter has announced an end to its policy regulating COVID misinformation — rules developed in 2020 to prohibit disputed information about the virus and vaccines from the platform. The change was made in a note added to the policy saying, “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”[1]
    • The policy, which took effect in March 2020, took down posts that contradicted "authoritative sources," and later augmented to prioritize the "removal of the most harmful, misleading information" about COVID vaccines.[2]
    • Last year, Twitter began labeling tweets it considered potentially misleading, and established a strike system that led to permanent account suspensions for repeat offenders. Between January and September 2020, the company suspended more than 11K accounts and removed more than 100K content elements.[3]
    • The end of the policy comes after Twitter's new owner and CEO Elon Musk laid off half the company's workforce, including members of the content moderation, human rights, and communications teams.[4]
    • On the same day Twitter ended its COVID policy, Musk issued a poll asking users whether he should offer "general amnesty to suspended accounts," to which 72.4% of the 3M voters answered "Yes." Musk then tweeted, "Amnesty begins next week."[2]
    • Though he's said he supports vaccines, Musk was critical of US COVID policy during the pandemic, calling it "forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their Constitutional rights."[5]


    Establishment-critical narrative

    Musk believes in free speech, which means he believes in the right to question and debate so-called "authoritative sources." The US government and Big Tech policies related to COVID were arbitrary. On Twitter, users were suspended for spreading any information that wasn’t blessed by the establishment. This is a win for freedom of speech.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Allowing disinformation isn't promoting free speech, it's hindering the public's ability to receive life-saving medical advice. Under Twitter's previous policy, experts were able to flag harmful speech and protect the uninformed from dangerous disinformation. Under Musk's new policy, and amid another rise in COVID cases, those safeguards will be gone, and the public square will flood with harmful public health recommendations.

    Establishment split



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