New York (CNN) — Twitter has said it will no longer enforce its longstanding Covid-19 misinformation policy, yet another sign of how Elon Musk plans to transform the social media company he bought a month ago.
In 2020, Twitter developed a set of rules that sought to prohibit the “misleading information” about the virus and its vaccines.
Between January 2020 and September 2022, Twitter suspended more than 11,000 accounts for violating Covid-19 misinformation rules and removed nearly 100,000 pieces of content that violated those rules, according to statistics released by Twitter. The policy drew praise from medical professionals: in a consultancy to technology platformsUS Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy cited Twitter’s rules as an example of what companies should do to combat misinformation.
Twitter did not appear to formally announce the rule change. Instead, some Twitter users on Monday night saw a note added to the page on Twitter’s website outlining its policy on Covid-19.
“As of November 23, 2022, Twitter will no longer enforce the misleading information policy on covid-19,” the note says.
Musk has promised to restore many previously suspended Twitter accounts as soon as this week. It is possible that among the restored accounts are some of the 11,000 suspended under Twitter’s old Covid-19 misinformation rules.
The CEO of Twitter, Tesla, and SpaceX tested the limits of Twitter’s past policy in the early days of the pandemic. In March and April 2020, Musk used the social network to downplay the magnitude of the crisis and express his frustration with how the pandemic had been handled. He repeatedly urged an end to stay-at-home policies, despite the insistence of public health officials at the time that physical distancing was still necessary to avoid a wave of infections that could overwhelm hospitals. .
on a call On Tesla’s earnings where Wall Street analysts were present in April 2020, Musk went off-script to criticize Covid-19 policies.
“I would call it ‘forcibly imprisoning people in their homes’ against all their constitutional rights, in my opinion, and breaking people’s liberties in ways that are horrible and wrong and not part of why people came. to America or built this country,” Musk said on the call. “It’s an outrage.”
Musk says that have had covid-19 twice. Despite his skepticism about public health policy, he has said that he supports vaccination, even though he doesn’t believe vaccines should be mandatory. Still, he said in a New York Times podcast interview with technology journalist Kara Swisher in September 2020 that he wouldn’t get vaccinated because “I’m not at risk of COVID-19, nor are my children.”
When Swisher confronted Musk with the possibility that many people could die if they didn’t follow public health recommendations, he bluntly replied: “Everybody dies.”