Twitter Files: 'How Twitter Rigged the COVID Debate'

( – The latest edition of the “Twitter Files,” a saga of censorship and shadow-banning, shows that Twitter, with input from the White House, “rigged” the debate over COVID — a debate that continues to this day.

“So far the Twitter Files have focused on evidence of Twitter’s secret blacklists; how the company functioned as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI; and how execs rewrote the platform’s rules to accommodate their own political desires,” wrote reporter David Zweig, in cooperation with Twitter’s new owner, Elon Musk.

Zweig said his reporting is another piece of the story — the COVID story.

The gist of it is this: “The United States government pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about Covid-19.”

The gist of it is this: “The United States government pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about Covid-19.”


Zweig offers the following summary of how the debate was rigged:

“– 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*”

According to Zweig: “Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for (The Free Press) showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.”

Zweig said the Trump administration “was especially concerned about panic buying. They came looking for ‘help from the tech companies to combat misinformation’ about ‘runs on grocery stores.’ But…there were runs on grocery stores,” Zweig noted, adding that the Twitter meetings with the Trump White House “were also attended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others.”

And when Biden came into office, one of his administration’s first meeting requests with Twitter executives involved COVID:

“The focus was on ‘anti-vaxxer accounts. Especially Alex Berenson,” Zweig reported.

“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.

“Berenson sued (and then settled with) Twitter. In the legal process Twitter was compelled to release certain internal communications, which showed direct White House pressure on the company to take action on Berenson.”

Zweig said the evidence — a Twitter executive’s summary of meetings with the White House — shows that the Biden White House “repeatedly attempted to directly influence” Twitter’s content.

A Twitter executive wrote that “the Biden team was ‘very angry’ that Twitter had not been more aggressive in deplatforming multiple accounts. They wanted Twitter to do more.”

“Twitter executives did not fully capitulate to the Biden team’s wishes. An extensive review of internal communications at the company revealed employees often debating moderation cases in great detail, and with more care than was shown by the government toward free speech.

“But Twitter did suppress views—many from doctors and scientific experts—that conflicted with the official positions of the White House. As a result, legitimate findings and questions that would have expanded the public debate went missing.”

Zweig found three serious problems with Twitter’s process:

— “First, much of the content moderation was conducted by bots, trained on machine learning and AI – impressive in their engineering, yet still too crude for such nuanced work.”

— “Second, contractors, in places like the Philippines, also moderated content. They were given decision trees to aid in the process, but tasking non experts to adjudicate tweets on complex topics like myocarditis and mask efficacy data was destined for a significant error rate.”

— “Third, most importantly, the buck stopped with higher level employees at Twitter who chose the inputs for the bots and decision trees, and subjectively decided escalated cases and suspensions. As it is with all people and institutions, there was individual and collective bias.”

In the case of COVID, Zweig found, the bias “bent heavily toward establishment dogmas.”

“Inevitably, dissident yet legitimate content was labeled as misinformation, and the accounts of doctors and others were suspended both for tweeting opinions and demonstrably true information,” Zweig said.

Zweig goes on to name the names of some people who tweeted views at odds with public health authorities and the American left, the latter well represented at Twitter.

“In my review of internal files, I found countless instances of tweets labeled as ‘misleading’ or taken down entirely, sometimes triggering account suspensions, simply because they veered from CDC guidance or differed from establishment views,” Zweig wrote.


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