After almost two years of reinforcing COVID-19 misinformation policies, Twitter is now halting the program. The social media app will no longer remove tweets that may contain misinformation regarding COVID-19.
The company’s announcement states, “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”
Back in 2020, after COVID-19 started to spread globally, Twitter and other social platforms began a campaign to remove or label any content that might contain misinformation about covid and later vaccination. At the time, Twitter said it removes “demonstrably false or potentially misleading content.”
Some accounts were even suspended for repeatedly publishing so-called misinformation about covid. The campaign angered many users, and many accused Twitter of suppressing free speech. According to Twitter’s report, over 11,230 accounts and 100,000 pieces of content have been removed from the platform since January 2020.
Suspended Twitter users might be able to return to the platform
Those users whose accounts were suspended for spreading covid misinformation might soon return after Elon Musk announced “general amnesty” to suspended accounts. Of course, these accounts should not have “broken the law or engaged in egregious spam.” Reinstating suspended accounts starts this week.
It needs to be seen whether Musk can reinstate all 11,230 suspended accounts. But sources already reported that he wants to bring back 62,000 suspended accounts with over 10,000 followers. Additionally, one account with over 5 million followers and 75 accounts with over 1 million followers are also on the list for reinstatement. Other social platforms like Meta are also reviewing their covid misinformation policies for any necessary adjustments.
While Elon Musk is busy making fundamental changes to Twitter, he has recently received a threat from Apple to withhold Twitter from the App Store. Musk says Apple has not yet revealed any reason for the threat, but it might be related to Twitter’s new content moderation policies. The conservative social media app Parler was already removed from both App Store and Play Store over flimsy content moderation policies, which might also happen to Twitter.