The latest reporting on documents referred to as the Twitter Files reveals efforts from both the Trump and Biden administrations to suppress ideas on social media related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a lengthy Twitter thread, Free Press writer David Zweig cited “[i]nternal files” from Twitter that showed how the social media giant “rigged the COVID debate” at the behest of the federal government.
“The United States government pressured Twitter and other social media platforms to elevate certain content and suppress other content about Covid-19,” Zweig wrote.
Zweig claimed that the documents showed that both the current and previous administrations “directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes.”
The Trump administration, he wrote, was concerned about suppressing messages about “runs on grocery stores” that they feared would lead to “panic buying” in the early months of the pandemic. They held meetings with Twitter, Facebook, Google, Microsoft and others, according to Zweig.
The Biden administration, Zweig reported, was concerned about vaccine-related information and “anti-vaxxer accounts” like former New York Times reporter Alex Berenson. Documents reportedly showed that the Biden administration was upset that Twitter was not doing more to take action against a number of accounts.
Fox Business reached out to the White House for comment, but officials did not immediately respond.
While Twitter did not always comply with the White House’s wishes, Zweig wrote, “Twitter did suppress views—many from doctors and scientific experts—that conflicted with the official positions of the White House.”
“As a result,” he continued, “legitimate findings and questions that would have expanded the public debate went missing.”
One example Zweig cited was Harvard Medical School epidemiologist Dr. Martin Kulldorff, who had responded to a question about vaccines by saying that while older, at-risk people and their caretakers should get them, children and people who had already been infected with COVID-19 did not need to.
Zweig showed a screenshot of an internal Twitter email that discussed taking action against Kulldorff for spreading “false information about the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, which goes against CDC guidelines.”
As a result, likes and replies were disabled on the post, and the post itself was labeled “Misleading.”
“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.
Another tweet that was labeled misleading was one that aimed to dispel a claim that COVID-19 was the leading cause of death by disease among children — a tweet that relied on and showed the CDC’s own data.
This is the latest in a series of reports on the Twitter Files, which are internal company documents released by new Twitter owner and CEO Elon Musk to expose the company’s prior practices.