On Friday, pop star Elton John announced that he was leaving Twitter under the claim that “misinformation” was going to “flourish unchecked” on the site due to new company policies and ownership.
“All my life I’ve tried to use music to bring people together,” John tweeted on Friday. “Yet it saddens me to see how misinformation is now being used to divide our world. I’ve decided to no longer use Twitter, given their recent change in policy which will allow misinformation to flourish unchecked.”
In response, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk responded, “I love your music. Hope you come back. Is there any misinformation in particular that you’re concerned about?”
One Twitter user pointed out that it was possible someone with a liberal perspective had written the post in John’s name. Musk responded, noting that many celebrities do not write posts on their own and have a publicist or representative to do so.
“It’s true that most celebrities don’t write their own posts. More should. Way better to hear directly from them,” he replied.
The post was vague enough to where the new CEO was unsure what specifically John was pointing to; however, Musk recently changed Twitter’s misinformation policy around the discussion of COVID.
An updated note posted on Twitter’s blog and “transparency report,” revealed that as of November 23 the platform is no longer enforcing policies that it used during the COVID pandemic to combat “misleading information.” There was at no point a formal announcement of the policy change, but the news hit the web in force on Tuesday when several conservative users posted screenshots of the updated policy.
“Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter is no longer enforcing the COVID-19 misleading information policy,” the note reads.
This is the latest policy change as Elon Musk attempts to reform Twitter into a complete “free speech” platform.
The updated policy was shared and reshared by conservatives celebrating the change by posting facts about COVID-19 that were deemed “misinformation” by Twitter during the pandemic.
CNN reported that over 11,000 accounts were suspended by Twitter between January 2020 and September 2022, and more than 100,000 individual posts were taken down for violating this misinformation policy.
Among the suspended users were, notably, Republican Georgia congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, journalist Alex Berenson, mRNA vaccine researcher Dr. Robert Malone, cardiologist Dr. Peter McCollough, and former San Francisco Giants player Aubrey Huff.
CEO Elon Musk announced a blanket amnesty for suspended users a day after the post was made, after tweeting a poll on November 23 asking if users that had been permanently suspended should be reinstated.
“Should Twitter offer a general amnesty to suspended accounts, provided that they have not broken the law or engaged in egregious spam?” he wrote.
More than three million users voted in the poll, and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of amnesty; nearly three-quarters of voters, 72.4%, voted yes, while just 27.6% voted no.
“The people have spoken,” Musk wrote after the poll concluded. “Amnesty begins next week. Vox Populi, Vox Dei.”
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