The social network stopped applying its rules which aimed to fight against false publications in the field of the fight against the pandemic, as well as the accounts which conveyed them.
When the “freedom of expression” have a good back. Elon Musk, who had already distinguished himself by his hostility to health measures against Covid-19, has decided to give up fighting misinformation about the virus. On the menu: end of the moderation of problematic content, and reinstatement of accounts previously banned for publications spreading such fake news. The new boss of Twitter announced that since Wednesday, November 23, “Twitter no longer enforces misleading information about Covid-19. But this time, the controversial billionaire did not proclaim it loud and clear on his Twitter account, he was content to announce it discreetly via a brief press release, relayed this Tuesday evening by the American press.
The social network had made notable efforts against misinformation about the virus in recent years, like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. The platform had notably decided to report and remove messages containing fake news on Covid vaccines, then to suspend the accounts concerned after five warnings. “We believe this disclaimer system will help educate the public about our policies and better reduce the spread of potentially harmful or misleading information on Twitter”advocated the social network in March 2021.
But in his absolute view of freedom of expression, Elon Musk has never made a secret of his opinion about the health restrictions put in place during the pandemic, especially when they meant the temporary closure of his Tesla factory in California. “Telling people they can’t leave their homes and that they would be arrested if they did is fascist. It is not democratic. It is not freedom. Give people back their damn freedom”he got carried away in April 2020.
Upon his arrival at the head of Twitter, and between two provocations, Elon Musk had tried to reassure observers and advertisers, who feared an outbreak of toxic content, hate speech and misinformation. The mogul reiterated that the platform’s rules have not changed and that banned accounts will not be reinstated until a content moderation board is established.
A waste of time: many brands have fled, and Elon Musk, feeling betrayed, has taken action. He launched polls on his profile, according to him reflecting the “voice of the people”, and has the profile of ex-President Donald Trump (suspended in January 2021 for calling for violence) reinstalled. According to the specialized newsletter “Platformer”, the fiery leader also asked the engineers still employed to restore some 62,000 accounts that had been banned for repeated violations.