With all the arrows directed at free speech absolutist Elon Musk for threatening to upset the left’s apple cart by exposing just how far-reaching the efforts have been to silence voices on the right, a somewhat significant policy change flew under the radar.
Musk, who’s now Public Enemy #1 for the left, teased the release of files on Monday that will reveal just how extensive Twitter’s efforts have been to suppress free speech, saying the public “deserves to know what really happened.”
In a prelude to the forthcoming free speech files, Twitter announced on its website, “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy.”
The social media platform also shared the following statistics:
CNN reported that Twitter “did not appear to formally announce the rule change,” characterizing the move as “yet another sign of how Elon Musk plans to transform the social media company he bought a month ago, before pointing out that Musk recently vowed to restore many previously banned Twitter accounts.
“It is possible that among the restored accounts will be some of the 11,000 banned under Twitter’s former Covid misinformation rules,” the network bellyached.
The people have spoken.
Amnesty begins next week.
Vox Populi, Vox Dei.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 24, 2022
CNN correspondent Donie O’Sullivan took care to suggest that Musk has been part of the problem, reporting that he “tested the limits of Twitter’s previous policy in the early days of the pandemic.”
“In March and April 2020, Musk used the social network to downplay the magnitude of the crisis and express frustration with how the pandemic had been handled,” he wrote. “He repeatedly urged the end of the stay-at-home policies, despite public health officials’ insistence at the time that social distancing remained necessary to avoid a wave of infections that could overwhelm hospitals.”
O’Sullivan also said that the billionaire “went off script to rail against Covid policies” on a Tesla earnings call with Wall Street analysts in April 2020.
“I would call it, ‘forcibly imprisoning people in their homes’ against all their Constitutional rights, in my opinion, and breaking people’s freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country,” Musk said on the call. “It’s an outrage.”
Twitter included this statement on its website:
The world has changed dramatically since this pandemic was first declared a public health emergency. Since then, public health experts, medical professionals, scientists and researchers have been educating and informing us on how to stay safe, and Twitter has worked to highlight and empower that vital public conversation. As the global vaccination rollout evolves and the pandemic enters a new phase, we are committed to ensuring our rules and enforcement match the changing nature of the content we’re seeing on Twitter.
Similarly, as the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines expands around the world at varying degrees of pace and scale, people continue to turn to Twitter to discuss what’s happening and find the latest authoritative public health information. As such, we continue to prioritize removing or annotating potentially harmful and misleading information to ensure that users can readily find credible information during this critical phase.
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