Twitter rolls back policy barring COVID misinformation

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Published: 11/30/2022 7:27:54 AM

The move comes amid concerns over Twitter's ability to fight misinformation after the company fired more than half its staff, including those involved in content moderation.

Twitter rolled back its policy aimed at fighting health misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The social media platform announced that "Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy."

What do critics of the new policy say?

Public health experts raised concerns that disinofrmation duriing a health crisis could have serious consequences if it discourages vaccination and other efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

The move comes amid concerns of Twitter's ability to fight misinformation after the takeover by  Elon Musk who fired at least half of its staff  including those involved in content moderation.

Musk supporters: 'A win for free speech'

Since the start of the pandemic, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook struggled to combat the torrent of misinformation regarding the virus.

Under a new policy enacted in January 2020, Twitter prohibited the spread of false information about the pandemiic. More than 11,000 accounts were suspended and nearly 100,000 pieces of content were removed from the platform.

After the recent roll back, some Twitter users have taken to the platform to celebrate.

Dr.Simone Gold, a physician and leading purveyor of COVID misinformation tweeted that this was a "win for free speech and medical freedom."

After billionaire Elon Musk took over Twitter in October, he announced that he would set up a content moderation council with "widely diverse viewpoints."

Last week, Musk said he would grant "amnesty" to those who had been kicked out of Twitter and reinstated the accounts of several people who had been suspended for spreading false information on the virus.

Previously, Musk himself has spread misinformation on Twitter.

Concerns over content moderation

Twitter's former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth warned that the social media company no longer had enough staff for safety work.

Before Musk assumed the helm, Roth said that Twitter had close to 2,200 people across the globe who were focused on content moderation work.

He did not know the number of people working in the same department as the corporate directory had been turned off after Musk's acquisition.

Roth resigned last month as he felt that Twitter had begun to stray away from its commitment to policies towards content management.

"One of my limits was if Twitter starts being ruled by dictatorial edict rather than by policy," Roth said Tuesday. "There's no longer a need for me in my role, doing what I do."



Source: ns/ar (Reuters, dpa, AP)

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