Last week’s Twitter decision to permanently suspend US Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene’s account calls attention to the company’s permissive attitude toward accounts maintained by authoritarian regimes.
Regardless of whether Twitter is right or not in banning Greene for violating its disinformation policy on Covid-19, the social media platform turns a blind eye to the brazen and shameful anti-vaccination disinformation campaigns promoted by accounts linked to the Russian and Chinese governments.
The latest example of this came last week, when Global Times, a Chinese Communist Party tabloid with 1.8 million Twitter followers, used the news of the death of a Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times editor to suggest that the Modern booster vaccine is not safe.
“Carlos Tejada, editor of The New York Times International, died the day after receiving a booster from Moderna. This raises questions about the safety of the vaccine”, pointed out the tweet.
Tejada, who was the Times’s deputy editor for Asia, had previously been involved in projects that shed light on Beijing’s actions to cover up the emergence of the coronavirus in early 2020. According to the New York Times obituary, he died of heart attack, but several vaccination skeptical blogs and websites highlighted that he had posted a photo on Instagram showing that he had received a booster dose the day before his death, linking the two events.
The Global Times amplified these claims to cast doubt on the safety of the Moderna vaccine, although there is no evidence that Tejada’s death is linked to receiving the booster dose. The state agency further gloated: “We are looking forward to the New York Times reporting more details. It will be a nice tribute to Tejada, who won a Pulitzer for criticizing China’s response to Covid-19.”
Until this Wednesday (5), the post had not been removed by the social network’s content moderation team. Twitter’s content policy prohibits users from sharing content “that is demonstrably false or misleading and could carry a significant risk of harm” (such as increased exposure to viruses or adverse effects on public health systems).
Twitter has a dubious track record when it comes to content moderation actions related to pro-Beijing disinformation. While it has taken down networks promoting CCP narratives and a small amount of particularly hateful tweets from Chinese government entities, Twitter checks (certifies as authentic) accounts linked to the Chinese government that often engage in denial of genocide. The platform also suspiciously punished party critics with inexplicable temporary account suspensions.
Meanwhile, Sputnik V, a vaccine developed by a Russian government medical institute, has its own Twitter account, in which it often claims that the vaccine developed by Pfizer is less effective against the new omicron variant than its immunizer.
But the Russian government’s claim is contradicted by an independent study that found that Sputnik V is unable to neutralize the variant. According to the previous study, published last month by the University of Washington and Humabs Biomed SA, none of the 11 participants vaccinated with Sputnik developed antibodies capable of neutralizing the omicron.
Asked about Chinese and Russian efforts to discredit US-produced vaccines on Twitter, a company spokesman limited himself to commenting on the decision to ban Greene “for repeated violations of our disinformation policy on Covid-19.” He added: “We make it clear that under our strike system for this policy, we will permanently suspend accounts for ongoing violations.”
But the Sputnik V account often spreads misleading information about Pfizer’s vaccine, just as the Global Times spreads misinformation about Covid’s origins. How many times will verified Twitter accounts run by dictatorships need to conflict with Covid-19’s disinformation policy for the company to act?
© 2021 The National Review. Published with permission. Original in english.
#Twitter #dictatorships #dubious #criteria