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Twitter Stops Enforcing COVID-19 Misinformation Policy

Twitter has stopped enforcing its COVID-19 misinformation policy which was put in place to help people find reliable information, connect with others, and follow what’s happening in real time.

The company appeared to have made the change on November 23, 2022, but failed to announce it as it usually does when it changes its policies. For example, Elon Musk had announced the new policy to ban impersonation accounts without warning if they failed to disclose their intent upfront.

In its transparency report about COVID-19 misinformation, the company offered no additional details as to why it stopped enforcing the policy.

The beginning pandemic and the panic it caused had led to the influx of several opinions on social media, especially Twitter. With several of these opinions coming from people without any knowledge of medicine or how the body works, there was a need to put them in check. Twitter began adding fact check labels to such tweets and allegedly shadow banned accounts that kept spewing falsehood.

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Although COVID has toned down in several regions of the world, the infection is far from over. In China, there have been renewed restrictions in place to stop infections from spreading.

So, it is not clear why Twitter stopped fact checking misinformation related to the virus. Although, it could be because Elon Musk has promised to allow free speech reign on the platform, no matter the cost. Or, it could be that there are less people to enforce the policy as he has fired a large percent of people working on the content moderation arm of the company. CNET reported that there is only one employee left on the Twitter child safety team based in Singapore.

Whatever the reason, it puts Twitter at odds with people who are worried about misinformation. It is a clear contrast to what is happening at Google and YouTube, who just invested $13 million in fact-checking tools.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.