Twitter Inc has rolled back a policy that was aimed at tackling “misinformation” related to COVID-19 on the social media platform.
The move also comes as Twitter let go of about half of its staff, including those involved in content moderation, under new boss Elon Musk.
“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” according to an update on its blog page. The update was first reported by CNN on Tuesday.
The specific measures that Twitter will drop were not immediately clear, and the company did not immediately respond to a request to share more information.
At the onset of COVID in 2020, Twitter instated a number of measures including labels and warning messages on tweets with disputed information about the health crisis and a framework to have users remove tweets that advanced allegedly false claims related to vaccines.
Meta Platforms Inc-owned Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s YouTube services employed similar measures, which are currently in place.
In August, court documents revealed to the public that federal government officials had been working directly with Big Tech companies — including Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube — to determine what would be labeled as “misinformation” or “disinformation” concerning COVID-19, and thus be censored on the platforms.
The documents were part of a lawsuit brought to the court by the attorneys general of Louisiana and Missouri concerning government censorship. In October, Dr. Anthony Fauci was ordered to testify in the case.
The accepted narrative and “facts” about COVID-19 have been ever-changing, however. From the importance of masks and the Wuhan lab leak theory to the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, numerous things Big Tech once labeled “COVID misinformation” are now backed by scientific and legal evidence.
Billionaire Musk took over Twitter on Oct. 27, paying $44 billion for the company, and has moved quickly to initiate a number of changes to product and staff. Musk said on Oct. 29 he would set up a content moderation council with “widely diverse viewpoints.”
Copyright 2022 Thomson/Reuters. Edits and additions by Jacob Fuller, FISM News.