Latest Twitter files release reveals how Big Pharma coordinated with Twitter to censor Covid vaccine content

by Ryan Meilstrup

Photo: Alamy

The latest batch of the “Twitter Files” has been released, and this latest drop of internal Twitter documents sheds light on how Twitter and the pharmaceutical industry worked together to monitor and censor tweets that were critical of Covid-19 vaccines.

The Intercept’s Lee Fang was given access to the Twitter documents and posted his findings in a lengthy thread on Twitter.

Fang highlighted how Big Pharma sought to censor and monitor tweets from activists who attempted to expand availability of the information and technology used to make Covid-19 vaccines so low-cost generic alternatives could be produced.

Fang also chronicled the extraordinary lengths Big Pharma’s lobbyists went to pressure Twitter to monitor and censor tweets that were not aligned with their narrative.

“The push included direct pressure from Pfizer partner BioNTech to censor activists demanding low-cost generic vaccines for low-income countries,” Fang wrote before adding: “That brings us to Twitter. The global lobbying blitz includes direct pressure on social media.”

Fang wrote, “BioNTech, which developed Pfizer’s vaccine, reached out to Twitter to request that Twitter directly censor users tweeting at them to ask for generic low-cost vaccines.”

Breitbart reported, “Nina Morschhaeuser, a lobbyist for Twitter in Europe, even asked the social media company’s content moderation team to monitor the accounts for Pfizer, AstraZeneca, and of activist hashtags like #peoplesvaccine.”

According to a December 2020 email, Morschhauser wrote, “We got contacted by BioNTech as well as the German Federal Office for Information Security for an online campaign targeting the pharmaceutical companies developing the COVID-19 vaccine.”

She added: “Expected hashtags include #JoinCTAP and #PeoplesVaccine. The authorities are warning about ‘serious consequences’ of the action, i.e., posts and a flood of comments ‘that may violate TOS’ as well as the ‘takeover of user accounts’ are to be expected.”

However, those “fake accounts” were not actually fake accounts and were the accounts of real people, including a 74-year-old retired bricklayer in England.

Writing for the Intercept, Fang concluded: “Ultimately, the campaign to share Covid vaccine recipes around the world failed.”

Then there was the effort made by Pfizer and Moderna to fund a content moderation campaign in support of the vaccines and against those who pushed back against them.

According to Breitbart, “The BIO-funded campaign focused on targeting tweets from accounts that expressed concern over potential vaccine passports, vaccine mandates, and policies that coerce people to get the jab.”

Fang detailed how BIO fully funded a special content moderation campaign that worked with Twitter to set content moderation rules around so-called coronavirus misinformation.

BIO fully funded a $1.2 million public health campaign called “Stronger” which Fang wrote was run by Public Good Projects, a public health nonprofit specializing in large-scale media monitoring programs.

According to Fang, the firm worked closely with Twitter to “help develop bots to censor vaccine misinformation and, at times, sent requests to Twitter with lists of accounts to monitor.”

Writing for the Intercept, Fang concluded by noting: “Many of the tweets flagged by Stronger contained absolute falsehoods, including claims that vaccines contained microchips and were designed to intentionally kill people. But others hinged on a gray area of vaccine policy through which there is reasonable debate, such as requests to label or take down content critical of vaccine passports and government mandates to require vaccination.”

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