Twitter has reversed a policy meant at combating COVID-19 disinformation on the social media platform, exposing it to the possibility of a boom in false claims even as cases rise in China and other areas of the world.
The move also comes amid concerns about Twitter’s ability to combat disinformation after the company laid off around half its workforce, including those involved in content moderation, under new CEO 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. CNN first reported the update on Tuesday, November 29.
The particular procedures that Twitter would discontinue were not immediately clear, and the firm did not respond to a request for additional information.
When COVID first appeared in 2020, Twitter implemented several precautions, including labels and warning messages on tweets containing disputed information about the health problem and a structure for users to remove tweets that propagated harmfully erroneous vaccine claims.
Meta Platforms Inc-owned Facebook and Alphabet Inc-owned YouTube implemented similar safeguards.
Meta sought the advice of its independent oversight board in July on adjustments to its current approach in light of improved authentic information sources and a general understanding of COVID.
Twitter announced earlier this year that it would no longer enforce a “civic integrity guideline” linked to claims about the 2020 U.S. presidential election beginning in March 2021.
Billionaire Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion on October 27 and has moved rapidly to implement a number of product and staff changes. Musk announced on October 29 that he would form a content control group of “widely different opinions.”