(ThePatriotWire)- Twitter has made another move that some people will call controversial while others will celebrate.
Recently, the social media company — which was purchased by Tesla CEO Elon Musk just a few weeks ago — announced that it wouldn’t stop its users from spreading false information about COVID-19 vaccines or the virus itself. That announcement was made as part of an update of the site’s policies regarding content moderation.
Since 2020, Twitter has suspended more than 11,000 different accounts from users who were accused of spreading misleading information about COVID-19 in some way, shape or form. But, as of November 23, the social media platform won’t enforce those policies anymore, it said in a note that accompanied a change on its COVID-19 misinformation page.
Since even before he bought the company, Musk said he was in favor of more free speech on the platform. He has put those words into action already, reinstating many users who were previously banned from the site — including former President Donald Trump — and now giving users the freedom to post whatever they want about COVID-19 or vaccines without the threat of being suspended.
Musk has also fired huge groups of people from Twitter, initially chopping the company’s workforce in half. The content moderation team was hit particularly hard, with thousands of full-time and contract employees in that division being let go.
Many of the company’s former executives who led those moderation efforts left the company on their own, too. That includes Yoel Roth, who was head of Trust and Safety at Twitter.
One person recently said that he believes it’s not just Musk’s viewpoint on free speech that made Twitter change this policy. It’s the fact that they no longer have sufficient staff to be able to handle it.
The former head of the company’s COVID-19 Response Task Force, Tom Tarantino, told Politico recently
“Misinformation policies are very labor intensive to enforce, as it typically requires human review to read context. As many — or all — of the team that is enforcing that policy is no longer there, I imagine that this is more about practicality than philosophy.”
Democrats in Washington immediately went off on Musk for this decision. On Tuesday, Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal commented to reporters:
“The misinformation is beyond dangerous. It’s potentially deadly to a lot of people who may be unable to see through a lot of the misinformation that’s out there.”
The medical community was up in arms about it, too. In a statement, the American Medical Association’s president, Jack Resneck Jr., said:
“Nowhere near enough was being done to stamp out medical misinformation on social media previously but this step, along with re-platforming voices who wish to sow confusion and increase mistrust in medicine, will do more harm.”
Twitter never formally announced that they were making this change. It was brought to the attention of the media as users started to notice that there was a change in the company’s policy.