San Francisco: The US government pressured Twitter to elevate certain Covid-19 information and suppress other content, while the platform suspended reputed medical professionals who disagreed with establishment views during the peak of the pandemic, new ‘Twitter Files’ have alleged.
Independent journalist David Zweig released the new ‘Twitter Files’ on how the micro-blogging platform “rigged the Covid debate”, and relied on bots and third-party contractors to moderate Covid-related topics.
“Twitter censored information that was true but inconvenient to the US government policy, discredited doctors and other experts who disagreed and suppressed ordinary users, including some sharing the CDC’s own data,” alleged Zweig.
According to him, both the incumbent Joe Biden and former Donald Trump administrations pressured Twitter and other tech giants like Google, Facebook and Microsoft to disseminate Covid information.
“Internal files at Twitter that I viewed showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes,” Zweig tweeted late on Monday.
At the onset of the pandemic, according to meeting notes, “the Trump admin was especially concerned about panic buying”.
Zweig said that when the Biden administration took over, “one of their first meeting requests with Twitter executives was on Covid. The focus was on ‘anti-vaxxer accounts’. Especially Alex Berenson”.
In the summer of 2021, President Biden said social media companies were “killing people” for allowing vaccine misinformation.
“Berenson was suspended hours after Biden’s comments, and kicked off the platform the following month,” he posted.
“A December 2022 summary of meetings with the White House by Lauren Culbertson, Twitter’s Head of US Public Policy, adds new evidence of the White House’s pressure campaign, and cements that it repeatedly attempted to directly influence the platform,” Zweig added.
Twitter CEO Elon Musk said that a follow-up piece on new ‘Twitter Files’ will come next week, featuring leading doctors and researchers from Harvard, Stanford and other institutions, “many of whom were, of course, actively suppressed on Twitter”.