On Thursday, the tech giant Twitter announced that it would be rolling out a new policy that aims to combat so-called “misinformation” by deliberately suppressing tweets that share information which the company’s left-wing staff determine to be false.
The Daily Caller reports that under the new policy, titled “Crisis Misinformation Policy,” tweets that are unilaterally determined to contain “misinformation” will be branded with a warning that will prevent the tweet from going viral or being shared by Twitter’s algorithms. The policy will especially target tweets from “high profile accounts.”
According to the company’s press release, certain tweets will be patrolled by a collection of so-called “fact-checkers,” including “conflict monitoring groups, humanitarian organizations, open-source investigators, journalists, and more.”
“To reduce potential harm, as soon as we have evidence that a claim may be misleading, we won’t amplify or recommend content that is covered by this policy across Twitter – including in the Home timeline, Search, and Explore,” Twitter said in its statement. “In addition, we will prioritize adding warning notices to highly visible Tweets and Tweets from high profile accounts, such as state-affiliated media accounts, verified, official government accounts.”
Allegedly, the policy was initially developed in response to misinformation and propaganda surrounding the war in Ukraine. As such, the first few tweets that will be targeted are those that allegedly “mischaracterize conditions” of ground conflicts and wars, as well as “false allegations” of the use of force to violate sovereign territories, and “demonstrably false” allegations of war crimes, or otherwise “inaccurate” information about ongoing wars.
However, Twitter noted that the policy will soon be expanded to “include additional forms of crisis.”
The crackdown on free speech comes as Twitter continues to negotiate with billionaire Elon Musk, who has agreed to buy the company and take it private. The deal, while not set to close for several more months, is widely seen as an effort by Musk to reverse many of Twitter’s pro-censorship policies in favor of a more free speech-oriented approach to online discourse. Among other promises, Musk has vowed to fire over 1,000 employees from Twitter, and has also said that he would reverse the site’s widely-criticized permanent ban of President Donald J. Trump, who had nearly 90 million followers prior to his suspension.