Twitter will no longer take action against tweets that contain covid misinformation or the accounts that post them. Instead of announcing the change, the platform added a note to the pages that outline its covid misinformation policies, saying, “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”
Twitter first introduced these policies in 2020 and began applying labels to tweets that contained disputed information about covid and its vaccines. The platform also removed tweets that contained “demonstrably false or potentially misleading content” and permanently suspended accounts if they continuously broke the rules. According to data posted by Twitter, the company suspended a total of 11,230 accounts and removed nearly 100,000 pieces of content since January 2020.
As reported by Platformer’s Casey Newton and Zoë Schiffer, Musk is in the process of bringing back about 62,000 accounts with more than 10,000 followers, including one account that has over 5 million followers and 75 accounts with over 1 million followers. It’s unclear whether Musk will restore the 11,230 accounts that have been suspended due to posting covid misinformation.
In October, Twitter opened its community-driven moderation program Birdwatch (now called Community Notes) to all users, and an analysis by The Verge found that covid misinformation is one of the biggest challenges addressed by Community Notes users. These notes likely won’t be affected by Twitter’s policy change, as the platform says they “do not represent Twitter’s viewpoint and cannot be edited or modified” by the Twitter team.