Twitter has halted enforcement of a policy banning lies about the 2020 election.
"Twitter spokesperson Elizabeth Busby told CNN on Friday that 'since March 2021,' Twitter has not been enforcing its 'civic integrity policy' in relation to lies about the 2020 election," the network reported Friday night. "That was the policy under which the company had suspended or even banned users for lying about the 2020 election, affixed fact-check warning labels to tweets containing such lies and limited others' ability to share those inaccurate tweets."
Busby explained that the policy was only designed to be enforced "during the duration" of the 2020 election, adding that President Joe Biden has been in office for more than a year. However, CNN noted that lies about the 2020 election "continue to play a major role" in U.S. politics.
"Former President Donald Trump continues to relentlessly repeat lies about the 2020 election," the network reported. "And numerous Republican candidates running in 2022 primaries are campaigning on lies about what happened in 2020."
Jesse Lehrich, co-founder of Accountable Tech, said she was surprised and dismayed by Twitter's decision to halt enforcement of the policy.
"I actually praised Twitter when they rolled out a new civic integrity policy in 2021, which prohibits false claims about election results and includes a clear strike system for repeat offenders," said Lehrich, whose nonprofit pushes for reforms at social media companies. "To learn they decided explicitly to stop enforcing it two months later, and told nobody, is infuriating -- especially for a platform that constantly plays up its commitment to transparent decision-making. They've managed to undermine faith in our democracy and their own credibility all at once."
Twitter is stil enforcing a ban on COVID-19 misinformation, which led to its recent ban of Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene.
However, Busby told CNN that Liz Harrington, a Trump spokeswoman who routinely posts his statements with lies about the 2020 election, is not in violation of Twitter rules. Trump was banned from the platform for inciting the Capitol insurrection.