Twitter will no longer enforce its COVID-19 misinformation policy, according to the company’s website. The move would allow users to spread false information about the virus and vaccine.
The decision is one on a long list of changes that have drawn scrutiny to the company since the October acquisition by billionaire Elon Musk. Musk has emphasized free speech throughout his takeover of the site, now permitting Twitter‘s nearly 400 million users to freely trivialize the virus that has killed over 6 million globally.
“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” reads the website.
The now-suspended policies accounted for more than 11,000 account suspensions since 2020, as well as 25,000 individual pieces of content being removed from the site in 2022 alone.
In 2021, Twitter announced it would begin to label tweets that potentially misled users regarding the COVID-19 vaccines, as well as implement a strike system that could lead to permanent suspension.
This decision came a year after Twitter first began to take steps to battle COVID-19 misinformation, which initially included unproven treatments for the virus and dangerous stereotypes against Asian Americans.
Since his takeover, Musk has fired large portions of the content moderation teams at Twitter, while at the same time dealing with the departure of Twitter’s former head of Trust and Safety, Yoel Roth.
Twitter never formally announced the policy change, leaving users to discover the update on their own accord.
Musk had previously announced a “general amnesty,” to formerly suspended accounts, allowing those who have not “broken the law” or engaged in “egregious spam,” to rejoin the social media giant.