Twitter Ends COVID-19 Misinformation Policy Under Musk

It’s a great time to spread fake news, at least after Twitter nosedive

Musk finished purchasing Twitter last month and since, has implemented severe changes in its management and company culture. And, things have only got worse since November.

Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation policy has been chopped off for good, as they’ve officially stopped taking action against tweets that breached its COVID rules as of Wednesday 23, November. For comparison, Twitter suspended around 11,000 accounts for spreading COVID misinformation in September this year. This means, that no actions would be taken against accounts that spread misinformation about COVID-19.

While the previous system had its flaws, it still provided users with the option of reporting accounts tweeting inaccurate information on COVID-19. Strangely enough, their other policies on misinformation still remain on their website, although it’s safe to say they won’t be for long.

The company already got into hot water with the Eli Lilly free insulin scandal. An Eli Lilly Twitter Blue impersonator already showed the economic impact of spreading misinformation. Then, to pour salt into the wound, those who were suspended on the website for breaking these rules are returning. The personal account of US congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, banned in January, was reinstated.

Twitter logo

@ Getty Images

Musk’s objective in purchasing Twitter was to make it a hub for free speech and even said, “The people have spoken… amnesty begins next week.”

When Twitter Blue launched, users who paid $8 a month could be verified on the site. Whereas, before, Twitter verification was only available to public figures, journalists and government officials to verify their identity.

However, issues have already become apparent with this new access to verification. An account, @EliLillyandCo, re-labelled itself as “Eli Lilly and Company”, slapped the logo as the real Eli Lilly in its profile and purchased a Twitter Blue verification company. They were practically indistinguishable from the real Eli Lilly.

This caused Eli Lilly to lose billions after the impersonator promoted free insulin through a tweet which read, “We are excited to announce insulin is free now.” Their shares plummeted by $22 billion.

During COVID-19, Twitter created labels and warning messages on tweets featuring information about the health crisis to better flag tweets that disseminated false claims related to vaccination or the symptoms of COVID-19. The same measures were also adopted by FaceBook, YouTube, and Instagram. To achieve this, Musk said on October 29 that he’d create a new content moderation council that had widely diverse viewpoints. 

After firing top executives, laying off half the workforce and searching for a new leader to take care of Twitter, Musk has also spoken about the possibility of the company going bankrupt. 

 

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