30 Nov 2022

Twitter rolls back Covid-19 misinformation policy

12:07 pm on 30 November 2022
(FILES) In this file photo taken on October 28, 2022, the Twitter logo outside their headquarters in San Francisco, California. - Is it a pipe dream or a possibility? Elon Musk wants to meaningfully diversify Twitter’s revenue stream beyond advertising, but no major social network has managed so far to go without ads altogether. Something of a gold standard, social media ads can be fine-tuned and tailored to individual users on a mass scale, and have been particularly lucrative for Meta's Facebook and Instagram, as well as Google. (Photo by Constanza HEVIA / AFP)

The move comes under new Twitter boss Elon Musk. Photo: AFP

Twitter has rolled back a policy that was aimed at tackling misinformation related to Covid-19 on the social media platform, lending itself to the risk of a potential surge in false claims even as cases rise in China and some parts of the world.

The move also comes amid concerns of Twitter's ability to fight misinformation after it let go about half of its staff, including those involved in content moderation, under new boss Elon Musk.

"Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the Covid-19 misleading information policy," according to an update on its blog page. The update was first reported by CNN on Tuesday.

The specific measures that Twitter will drop were not immediately clear, and the company did not immediately respond to a request to share more information.

At the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, Twitter reinstated a number of measures including labels and warning messages on tweets with disputed information about the health crisis and a framework to have users remove tweets that advanced harmfully false claims related to vaccines.

An image released by TED Conferences shows Tesla chief Elon Musk at the TED2022: A New Era conference in Vancouver, Canada, 14 April, 2022.

Elon Musk. Photo: AFP / TED Conferences / Ryan Lash

Meta Platforms-owned Facebook and Alphabet's YouTube services employed similar measures, which were currently in place.

Earlier this year, Twitter said that since March 2021 it had stopped enforcing a "civic integrity policy" related to lies about the 2020 US presidential election.

Billionaire Musk took over Twitter on 27 October, paying $US44 billion for the company, and has moved quickly to initiate a number of changes to product and staff.

Musk said on 29 October he would set up a content moderation council with "widely diverse viewpoints".

- Reuters

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