Twitter is no longer enforcing its policy about COVID-19 misinformation as part of changes made under new CEO Elon Musk.
Twitter did not formally announce the change, but a note was added to the top of the page about the policy to note that the rule was being rolled back.
“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” the note stated.
The platform suspended more than 11,000 accounts for violating the policy between January 2020 and September 2022, according to data published by Twitter.
The cessation of the policy’s enforcement is part of changes Musk has made since closing his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter at the end of October. He has pledged to create a “free speech” platform, detailing a vision for having less content moderation measures in place in a way that critics have warned will lead to more hate speech and misinformation on the site.
Imran Ahmed, CEO of the the Center for Countering Digital Hate, called the rollback of the COVID-19 misinformation policy an “irresponsible decision” that puts lives at risk and “opens the floodgates to those who spread deadly lies.”
Civil rights and other advocacy groups have been putting pressure on Musk to change course and bring back content moderation measures through a campaign urging advertisers to pull their ads from Twitter.