Twitter will no longer enforce its policy against false information related to COVID-19, raising concerns among health experts about the potential for dire consequences if it discourages vaccination and other efforts to combat the virus that continues to spread.
Some users noted the change Monday night, noting that a one-sentence update had been made to Twitter’s rules: “As of November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy. ″.
By Tuesday, some Twitter accounts were testing the new limits and celebrating the platform’s hands-off approach, which comes after the Elon Musk acquisition.
“The policy was used to silence people around the world who were questioning the media narrative surrounding the virus and treatment options,” tweeted Dr. Simone Gold, a medical spreader of COVID-19 misinformation. 19. “A victory for free speech and medical freedom.”
But Twitter’s decision to no longer take down lies about the safety of COVID-19 vaccines disappointed many public health officials, who said it could lead to more false statements about the virus, or about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines. the vaccines.
“Bad news,” tweeted epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding, calling on people not to flee Twitter, but to stay and stand up for credible virus information. “Stay friends, don’t give them the place.”
Meanwhile, the virus continues to spread. The United States had recorded an average of 38,800 new cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, which is far lower than last winter but also an undercount due to the coronavirus pandemic. few tests being done as all infections are underreported. About 28,100 people with coronavirus were hospitalized daily and some 313 died, according to the latest figures.
Musk, who has spread false information about COVID-19 on Twitter, has expressed interest in withdrawing many of the platform’s previous rules aimed at combating misinformation.
Last week, Musk said he would grant “amnesty” to users who had been banned from Twitter. He also reinstated the accounts of several people who spread false information about COVID-19.
Under policy enacted in January 2020, Twitter prohibited false claims about COVID-19 that the platform determined could cause real-world harm. More than 11,000 accounts were suspended for breaking the rules and nearly 100,000 pieces of content were removed from the platform, according to the latest figures from Twitter.
Messages left on San Francisco-based Twitter seeking more information about its COVID-19 misinformation policy had so far gone unanswered Tuesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism