Twitter Files: Controlling The COVID Narrative

Twitter Files: Controlling The COVID Narrative

Twitter Files: Controlling The COVID Narrative

In case you missed it, Matt Taibbi dropped another edition of the Twitter Files on Christmas Eve, detailing just how the Deep State was sinking its tentacles into Big Tech. And now we have another chapter to add to the growing collection – this time by David Zweig, about how Twitter clamped down on accounts that dared challenge the COVID narrative.

Taibbi’s Christmas Eve thread was pretty straightforward: it wasn’t just the FBI who had an in at Twitter, and it wasn’t just Twitter that federal government agencies were seeking to utilize for their own ends.

Those other federal government agencies included the CIA.

And as Taibbi reports, it wasn’t just Twitter. It was Facebook, it was Reddit, it was Verizon, it was Microsoft, and even Pinterest. Big Brother was watching you through social media, via your online interactions, and generally just spying on what you were and weren’t doing. Feel grossed out yet? The CIA was “allegedly” looking for foreign actors on these social media platforms who were spreading “disinformation,” often asking Twitter to ban accounts for supposedly being “bot” accounts that supported foreign countries or officials. Honest question – is this what the CIA is supposed to spend its time doing, and are We the People comfortable with that???

This leads us to today’s Twitter Files installment, brought to us by David Zweig, who is a former Atlantic and New York Times journalist, but is now at Bari Weiss’s The Free Press. Today is the day that we see just how Twitter manipulated the COVID narrative on their platform – at the behest of THE WHITE HOUSE. Brace yourselves.

The Trump White House, according to Zweig, was mostly worried about things like “runs on grocery stores” for supplies, and enlisted the help of Twitter, Facebook, and Google to try and suppress “panic buying.” As we all remember the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020, the suppression of information really didn’t work. That brings us to the even more authoritarian attempts by the Biden White House to control the narrative on COVID-19 – and that meant banning accounts that they didn’t like. Let me say that louder for the people in the back – THE BIDEN WHITE HOUSE DIRECTED TWITTER TO REMOVE ACCOUNTS THAT THEY DIDN’T LIKE.

You can disagree with Alex Berenson and still think that he shouldn’t be deplatformed at the “request” of the White House. Berenson settled with Twitter after filing a lawsuit, but he got the proof that his banning was done at the demand of the White House. And the Biden White House was upset that Twitter wasn’t jumping immediately to ban everyone that they wanted gone.

Imagine that this was a Republican White House. Imagine that Twitter had existed during the Iraq War, and the Bush administration deliberately pressured Twitter to ban accounts that were critical of the war. The screaming that would be coming from the left would be epic. But since this is the Biden White House who was applying the pressure, will we hear even a peep from the left about the government suppressing speech that they don’t like?

As Zweig detailed on his thread, and then wrote up for The Free Press, this pressure from the Biden White House meant that Twitter was actively censoring anyone – even experts – that bucked the Biden Team’s preferred narrative.

But Twitter did suppress views—and not just those of journalists like Berenson. Many medical and public health professionals who expressed perspectives or even cited findings from accredited academic journals that conflicted with official positions were also targeted. As a result, legitimate findings and questions about our Covid policies and their consequences went missing.”

There were three serious problems with Twitter’s process.”

First: Much of the content moderation on Covid, to say nothing of other contentious subjects, was conducted by bots trained on machine learning and AI. I spent hours discussing the systems with an engineer and with an executive who had been at the company for more than a year before Musk’s takeover. They explained the process in basic terms: Initially, the bots were fed information to train them on what to look for—but their searches would become more refined over time both as they scanned the platform and as they were manually updated with additional chosen inputs. At least that was the premise. Though impressive in their engineering, the bots would prove too crude for such nuanced work. When you drag a digital trawler across a social media platform, you’re not just catching cheap fish, you’re going to snag dolphins along the way.”

Second: Contractors operating in places like the Philippines were also moderating content. They were given decision trees to aid in their process, but tasking non-experts to adjudicate tweets on complex topics like myocarditis and mask efficacy data was destined for a significant error rate. The notion that remote workers, sitting in distant cube farms, were going to police medical information to this granular degree is absurd on its face.”

Third: Most importantly, the buck stopped with higher level employees at Twitter. They chose the inputs for the bots and decision trees. They determined suspensions. And as is the case with all people and institutions, there was both individual and collective bias.”

At Twitter, Covid-related 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 then brings up the cases of Dr. Martin Kulldorf, who dared point out that not everyone should get vaccinated and was banned, and Dr. Andrew Bostom, who dared bring an actual peer-reviewed study to an ideological fight and was banned. Zweig also mentions the now-known shadowbanning of Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, who argued against lockdowns for children, and hilariously, a tweet from Donald Trump after he recovered from COVID, telling people that the current medications were great and saying “don’t be afraid of COVID.”

Twitter had already lost all sense of proportion when it came to COVID-19, and the Biden White House then coming in and pushing all their authoritarian buttons simply added incentive to become even more hardline. There should be no circumstance, in a country that holds free speech as a God-given natural right, that sees the White House singling out individuals who should be deplatformed because they disagree with the administration’s prevailing narrative. Zweig points out in his conclusion that things could have been very different if Twitter, along with other social media platforms, had allowed actual debate.

Throughout the pandemic, Twitter repeatedly propped up the official government line that prioritizing mitigation over other concerns was the best approach to the pandemic. Information that challenged that view—for example, that pointed out the low risk children faced from the virus, or that raised questions about vaccine safety or effectiveness—was subject to moderation and suppression.”

This isn’t simply the story of the power of Big Tech or of the legacy press to shape our debate—though it is most certainly that.”

In the end it is equally the story of children across the country who were prevented from attending school, especially kids from underprivileged backgrounds who are now miles behind their more well-off peers in math and English. It’s the story of the people who died alone. It’s the story of the small businesses that shuttered. It’s even the story of the perpetually-masked 20-year-olds in the heart of San Francisco for whom there has never been a return to normal.”

If Twitter had allowed the kind of open forum for debate that it claimed to believe in, could any of this have turned out differently?”

If this kind of censorship at the behest of the Biden White House doesn’t make you furious, then what will? The ability to silence disagreement on social media is something that neither side of the aisle should have, and Twitter should never have allowed. We have been gaslit for years over COVID data, and the Biden administration STILL won’t lift the state of emergency because the White House likes the power it gives them. Where does this end? When WILL this end?

Welcome Instapundit Readers!

Featured image via Alexandra_Koch on Pixabay, cropped, Pixabay license

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  • Bruce says:

    And, if you think this was all “one-way” traffic, you have not been paying attention.

    The “code-writers” and their “financial enablers” now have a ast interface with actual power and all the state-sanctioned violence behind it.

    Just think what jollies these folk will have whilst manipulating “government” to their own advantage and to the intense detriment of any “nay-sayers”.

  • Lee says:

    Releasing these files is the best thing since sliced bread! Wake up fools! It’s time to realize the whole world is monitoring our every move. How long have we known this was coming? If Musk has any balls at all….. there is a backup plan in place to implode twitter and hang Jack Dorsey out to dry too.

    Every one of these social media sites is just another propaganda outlet to reel in more users. Get off every one of them and have a real conversation with a live person.

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