Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) deleted a tweet Monday after getting called out by Twitter CEO Elon Musk for posting false information about the latest release of “The Twitter Files.”
The latest Twitter Files release showed that the Biden administration pressed the social media platform to suppress alleged COVID “disinformation” while promoting the White House’s preferred messaging.
“Dear @davidzweig: The tweet you cite is in fact misleading. People of all ages at high risk from COVID generally benefit from vaccines,” Lieu tweeted. “Prior natural immunity may last only a few months. COVID appears to be a leading cause of death for children.”
Musk responded to another tweet that stated: “@tedlieu The preprint you linked to has actually been re-written as a result of my critique because it is seriously flawed and inaccurate. You linked to the old version.”
Musk said, “Ted is linking to misleading data @CommunityNotes.”
Lieu’s tweet was subsequently deleted.
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) December 26, 2022
The newest release of The Twitter Files came in a Twitter thread from reporter David Zweig.
The federal government reportedly “rigged” the COVID debate, “By censoring info that was true but inconvenient to U.S. govt. policy,” as well as “discrediting doctors and other experts who disagreed,” and “ordinary users,” according to Zweig.
The pressure to suppress certain COVID details while elevating a preferred narrative included officials in both the Trump and Biden administrations.
“Internal files at Twitter that I viewed while on assignment for @thefp showed that both the Trump and Biden administrations directly pressed Twitter executives to moderate the platform’s pandemic content according to their wishes,” Zweig tweeted.
Zweig later offered evidence that the push toward select COVID information was not limited to Twitter.
“It wasn’t just Twitter. The meetings with the Trump White House were also attended by Google, Facebook, Microsoft and others,” he tweeted alongside a screenshot of the companies involved.
The Twitter Files also cited examples of suppression by bots — automated intelligence that flagged certain content — while also outsourcing moderation to workers in faraway locations like the Philippines.
The contracted workers “in places like the Philippines, also moderated content. They were given decision trees to aid in the process, but tasking non experts to adjudicate tweets on complex topics like myocarditis and mask efficacy data was destined for a significant error rate,” Zweig documented.
In some cases, content was suppressed even when users cited the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) own data. In the example cited by Zweig, a bot initially flagged the tweet, with the post receiving many “tattles,” referring to reports by other users.
Dillon Burroughs contributed to this report.