Twitter ends Covid-19 misinformation policy under Musk

Twitter logo on side of building

Twitter says it has stopped enforcing its policy on misleading information about coronavirus.

According to the company’s website, it stopped taking action against tweets breaching its Covid-19 rules, on Wednesday, 23 November.

Twitter had previously reported suspending more than 11,000 accounts for Covid misinformation as of September this year.

Its other policies on false information remain on Twitter’s website, without a similar notice saying they will no longer be enforced.

Under its Covid-specific policy, Twitter operated a “five-strike system” for accounts posting “demonstrably false or misleading” content that may “lead to significant risk of harm” – such as exposure to Covid or damage to public health systems.

No action would be taken against accounts tweeting disinformation once. But repeat offenders could be suspended for a matter of hours, days – or even indefinitely, if they received five strikes against their account.

Though he says the Covid reporting system on Twitter was never perfect, Dr Stephen Griffin of The University of Leeds School of Medicine says it was reassuring to know that many thousands of accounts spreading disinformation had been removed since 2020.

Now, some of those who fell foul of the rules are returning to the website.

For example, Twitter has reinstated the personal account of US congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, banned in January.

Millions of users voted for the reinstatement of suspended accounts in a Twitter poll, causing boss Elon Musk to tweet: “The people have spoken… amnesty begins next week.”

The Tesla chief executive has vowed to make Twitter a hub for free speech online following his $44bn (£37bn) purchase.

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