Covid-19: Twitter abandons fight against fake news

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Since Elon Musk took it over, Twitter has been in the midst of restructuring. After dismissing content moderators, the American billionaire abandoned the fight against Covid-19-related disinformation on his platform, amid a rebound of the epidemic. In other words, Twitter is opening the floodgates to fake news.

No more account suspensions, warning messages and deleted posts for misleading information about Covid-19. Twitter officially ended on November 23 this moderation policy set in early 2020 in the midst of a pandemic.

In particular, it made it possible to delete tweets promoting false treatments, false information on virus transmission modes, or even unverified statements published to cause general panic.

What efficiency?

If the misinformation surrounding the pandemic has not completely disappeared from the social network, this moderation has made it possible to put a significant brake on its spread.

In fact, since January 2020, Twitter has suspended more than 11,000 accounts, removed more than 97,000 pieces of content and posted warnings onmore than 11 million accounts.

The weakening of the fight against fake news

Elon Musk recently announced a blanket amnesty for suspended accounts on his platform. A decision was taken suddenly following a poll on Twitter that gathered more than 3 million votes.

Accounts questioned for sharing false information are therefore reinstated. The American billionaire will not stop there. Since taking over Twitter, he has fired many content moderators.

A context conducive to fake news

These measures contribute to the creation of an environment conducive to disinformation and boost the activity of those spreading fake news. According toanalysts from News Watchera company that fights misinformation, the most popular untrustworthy Twitter accounts saw their engagement rate increase by 57% in the week after Elon Musk took over.

To realize this, just look at the content presented by the algorithm with #Covid19 because we find a lot of infox, especially those targeting the vaccine, which will be used to control populations thanks to the introduction of nanoparticles or other foreign body. A conspiracy theory as old as the principle of vaccination. Then there are those who simply deny the existence of the pandemic.

The European Union is concerned

Faced with this restructuring in favor of fake news, the European Commissioner for the Internal Market, Thierry Breton, spoke with Elon Musk this Wednesday, November 30. He warned him that he has to deal with disinformation if he wants to comply with new European Union rules on the matter, dictated by the European Digital Services Regulation (DSA) which will take effect in 2024.

Same order on the part of Arcom, France’s public authority for the regulation of audiovisual and digital communications. It requires platforms to strengthen warnings against questionable or fraudulent content. But obviously, since its takeover, Twitter has completely abandoned this policy.

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