Twitter will no longer punish users who post what some think is misleading or false information related to COVID-19 on its platform.
Twitter did not publicly announce the decision, opting to put a disclaimer on the page concerning its COVID-19 information policy.
“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” the page reads.
That policy had put disclaimers on tweets that included disputed information about vaccines or the COVID-19 virus. “Egregiously false” information usually resulted in account suspensions and the removal of the tweet.
Twitter first rolled out the policy in 2020 and over the past few years saw over 11,000 accounts suspended as a result. One such booted account holder was Mary Bowden, a Houston doctor who promoted ivermectin as a drug for the coronavirus.
The policy of banning or suspending accounts for what Twitter called misinformation infuriated vaccine and lockdown skeptics during the height of the pandemic in 2020, with many believing the policy was inconsistent and biased.
The change in policy comes after Twitter‘s new owner, tech billionaire Elon Musk, has made it his goal to reinstate many previously banned accounts. After more users voted last week for “general amnesty” to suspended accounts in a poll posted by Mr. Musk, he made it clear that accounts will come back online this week.
The move is more evidence that Mr. Musk was serious about being for free speech on the platform. Despite this, the reinstatement of some figures, such as the right-wing author Jordan Peterson and former President Donald Trump, has drawn the ire of advertisers.
Apple, whose App Store and iPhone dominate the tech industry, threatened to drop Twitter from its store without a reason this week, something that could jar the app.
Apple, Meta and YouTube still have similar versions of COVID-19 misinformation policies that take down or add disclaimers to posts that include possibly misleading information about the virus and its vaccines.
For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.