Twitter Files Exposes Damning Truth About Covid Management By Trump, Biden Govts

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Twitter Files Exposes Damning Truth About Covid Management By Trump, Biden Govts

| Updated: December 28, 2022 16:07

In a series of Tweets shared by David Zweig, a New York-based independent journalist and writer, the leaked files purportedly showed how the US government pressured Twitter to intensify certain content and silence others related to Covid-19.

Zweig claims that internal Twitter files he viewed revealed that the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content to their liking.

“When the Biden admin took over, one of their first meeting requests with Twitter executives was on Covid. The focus was on “anti-vaxxer accounts.” Especially on Alex Berenson,” Zweig posted.

He adds that in the summer of 2021, President Biden said social media companies were “killing people” for allowing vaccine misinformation.

Berenson’s account was suspended hours after Biden’s remarks and removed off the platform a month later. He later sued Twitter and reached a settlement. During the legal process, Twitter was forced to release certain internal communications that showed direct White House pressure on the company to take action against Berenson, the files read.

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Zewig writes that Twitter executives did not fully surrender to the Biden team’s wishes, but the platform did suppress views.

He raises three questions on the process followed by the platform.

Much of the content moderation was conducted by bots, trained on machine learning and AI. Should bots be involved such nuanced work?

The Twitter Files reveal contractors were tasked to moderate content in places like the Philippines. Zewig states that if non-experts decide how to handle Tweets on complex topics like myocarditis and mask efficacy data, then it was bound for a significant error rate.

Higher-level Twitter employees chose the inputs for the bots and decision trees, and subjectively decided escalated cases and suspensions. Individual and collective bias existed, as it does with all people and institutions, he alleges.

In one of the Tweets, Zewig shows that human bias prevailed in labelling the then President Donald Trump Tweets. “I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 pm. Feeling really good! Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!” this Trump tweet was questioned for violation of platform’s rule.

Zewig shared a supposed internal document where Jim Baker, at the time Twitter’s Deputy General Counsel, asks why telling people to not be afraid wasn’t a violation of Twitter’s Covid-19 misinformation policy. To this, Yoel Roth, Twitter’s former head of Trust & Safety, explains that “optimism wasn’t misinformation.”

What are the Twitter Files?

Elon Musk, the new CEO of Twitter has been instrumental in “the Twitter Files,” a series of Twitter threads from journalists using material accessed from the company.

He tweeted: “Much more to The Twitter Files: Covid Edition than this introductory thread. Follow-up piece to come next week, featuring leading doctors & researchers from Harvard, Stanford & other institutions.”

The Twitter Files released so far have accused the platform to function as a kind of subsidiary of the FBI and blamed executive biasness as they rewrote the platform’s rules to “accommodate their own political desires.”

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