Twitter manipulated information on COVID-19

The government has reportedly asked social networks for "special moderation" of accounts labeled as "antivaccine".

A new installment of the Twitter Files came out this Monday focusing on how the social network manipulated information about COVID-19.

Journalist David Zweig was put in charge of revealing the details and began with a post claiming that Twitter not only censored users, but also discredited doctors and experts.

According to the thread of posts, once again the government was involved in the manipulation that took place on Twitter and other social media platforms.

Twitter executives were allegedly pressured to moderate pandemic-related content according to the government's convenience and to prove it, Zweig posted some emails.

"The Trump admin was especially concerned about panic buying. They came looking for 'help from the tech companies to combat misinformation' about 'runs on grocery stores,'" Zweig said.

However, censorship worsened when Biden assumed the presidency. The president asked for special attention to be paid to "anti-vaccine accounts," noting that it was necessary to include journalist Alex Berenson, who criticized vaccines, in moderation.

According to the thread of posts, in the summer of 2021, Zweig said that misinformation about vaccines on social media was "killing people" and shortly after that Berenson was removed from Twitter.

"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," he posted, noting that Biden later went on to request that the social network do more to moderate certain accounts and posts.

"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," Zweig stated.

Despite this, pressure on this issue succeeded in getting Twitter to remove important opinions from physicians and scientists that could have broadened the public debate on  COVID-19.

The journalist also shared some cases where moderators of the social network can be seen manipulating information challenging those who pointed out the harmful effects of COVID-19 vaccines or who minimized the risks of the disease.

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?" asked the journalist in one of his last tweets, leaving the debate open about the damage caused by this censorship.