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Twitter Quietly Stops Enforcing COVID-19 Misinformation Policy

The update is a harsh pivot from the platform’s stated efforts to continue squashing “harmful misinformation”

Twitter is no longer enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy, marking the latest move in Elon Musk’s takeover of the company since the $44 billion acquisition was finalized in October.

“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” the company’s COVID-19 misinformation page reads.

The updated policy is a harsh pivot from Twitter’s stated efforts to continue promoting accurate information and squashing “harmful misinformation” surrounding COVID-19.

Twitter did not formally announce the new policy, but users noticed a change to the page Monday night. Despite the updated rule, the COVID-19 misinformation page still displays the company’s initial goals.

“As the global community faces the COVID-19 pandemic together, Twitter is helping people find reliable information, connect with others, and follow what’s happening in real time,” the page reads.

After committing to preventing “harming misinformation” about COVID-19 through content moderation during early moments of the pandemic, the company “broadened [its] definition of harm to address content that goes directly against guidance from authoritative sources of global and local public health information” in late March 2020.

Since instituting these content moderation policies in 2020, the tech giant touts that the company challenged 11.72 million accounts, suspended 11,230 and removed more than 97,674 pieces of content worldwide as of Sept. 2022.

Musk’s further move away from strict content moderation is unsurprising though, after layoffs and temporarily cut access to content moderation tools sounded alarm bells for advocates and journalists.