The “Twitter Files” began a review of how the social media company coordinated with the government to control the narrative on COVID Monday and, as many appreciated validation after experts and reporters like Dr. Martin Kulldorff and Alex Berenson had been silenced for stating the obvious, the question of accountability remained.
Following the most recent thread from journalist Matt Taibbi that showed how the FBI was only one of the federal agencies working with social media to suppress free speech, as the CIA, DOD and others were also involved, David Zweig of The Free Press kicked off the “Twitter Files” on COVID. As he put it, the platform rigged the debate, “By censoring info that was true but inconvenient to U.S. govt. policy–By discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed,” and, “By suppressing ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s *own data.*”
THE TWITTER FILES: HOW TWITTER RIGGED THE COVID DEBATE
– By censoring info that was true but inconvenient to U.S. govt. policy
– By discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed
– By suppressing ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s *own data*
— David Zweig (@davidzweig) December 26, 2022
Looking over internal records at the social media company, Zweig explained that in both the administrations of former President Donald Trump and President Joe Biden, officials “pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about Covid-19.”
While for Trump this was reported as an effort to protect the supply chain as panic buying set in and runs on grocery stores had begun, when Biden assumed office in 2021 his administration held a meeting with Twitter executives focused on “anti-vaxxer accounts” like that of former New York Times reporter Berenson. As Twitter’s Head of U.S. Public Policy Lauren Culbertson summarized recently of the White House meetings, “The Biden team was not satisfied with Twitter’s enforcement approach as they wanted Twitter to do more and to de-platform several accounts.”
“Because of this dissatisfaction,” she continued, “we were asked to join several other calls. They were very angry in nature.”
This led The Spectator’s Ben Domenech to assert, “President Joe Biden repeatedly directed his staff to silence Americans on Twitter who disagreed with his policies.”
President Joe Biden repeatedly directed his staff to silence Americans on Twitter who disagreed with his policies. https://t.co/8F4MQOHgSR
— Ben Domenech (@bdomenech) December 26, 2022
Zweig went on to explain Twitter, though not fully on board with all of the moderation, had outsourced much of the task to bots “trained on machine learning and AI” and contractors located abroad in nations like the Philippines where they relied on decision trees to determine if posts related to medical and scientific information beyond a layperson’s expertise were, indeed, “misinformation.”
This process ultimately resulted in accounts like that of Kulldorff, an epidemiologist at Harvard Medical School, getting flagged as “misleading” for posting his expert opinion related to prior infections and the danger posed to children and others getting suspended simply for sharing official data from the CDC.
As an internal email revealed, Kulldorff was said to have shared “false information regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, which goes against the CDC guidelines.”
Former Twitter Deputy General Counsel and former FBI lawyer Jim Baker had even called out a tweet from then-President Trump upon his departure from Walter Reed Medical Center after testing positive for COVID in Oct. 2020. The president had said, “Don’t be afraid of Covid,” and Baker demanded to know why that wasn’t a violation of Twitter’s policy on misinformation. In response, then-head of Trust & Safety Yoel Roth said, a “broad, optimistic statement” does not count as incitement or “recommend against taking precautions.”
Everything we said about Covid was correct. We were right about fatality rate, masks, boosters, lockdowns, school closures, social distancing, and the disgraceful Covid passports.
Twitter censored and suspended us for telling the truth, which contradicted government propaganda.
— Dr. Eli David (@DrEliDavid) December 26, 2022
With more information to come and with the House of Representatives expected to hold hearings related to COVID, Zweig’s main takeaway touched on the serious ramifications this suppression had throughout the world and asked ahead of any accountability.
“What might this pandemic and its aftermath have looked like if there had been a more open debate on Twitter and other social media platforms–not to mention the mainstream press–about the origins of Covid, about lockdowns, about the true risks of Covid in kids, and much more?” he tweeted.
39. What might this pandemic and its aftermath have looked like if there had been a more open debate on Twitter and other social media platforms—not to mention the mainstream press—about the origins of Covid, about lockdowns, about the true risks of Covid in kids, and much more?
— David Zweig (@davidzweig) December 26, 2022
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