The ‘Twitter Files’ have exposed numerous contacts between US government officials and Twitter and requests for suppression of accounts or content: notably, in the context of alleged COVID-19 ‘disinformation’. But what they have not revealed is that there was in fact a formal government programme explicitly dedicated to “Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation” in which Twitter, as well as all other major social media platforms, were enrolled.
As part of this program, the platforms were submitting monthly (later bi-monthly) reports to the government on their censorship efforts. Below is a picture of an archive of the “Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation” reports.
I did not have to hack into the intranet of the U.S. government to find them. All I had to do was look on the public website of the European Commission. For the government in question is not, after all, the U.S. government, but the European Commission.
The reports are available here. Lest there be any doubt that what is at issue in “Fighting COVID-19 Disinformation” is censorship – but how could there be any doubt? – the Commission website specifies that the reports include information on “demoted and removed content containing false and/or misleading information likely to cause physical harm or impair public health policies” (author’s emphasis).
Indeed, the Twitter reports, in particular, include data not only on removed content, but also on outright account suspensions. It is thanks precisely to the data that Twitter was gathering to satisfy the EU’s expectations that we know that 11,230 accounts were suspended under Twitter’s recently discontinued COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy. The below chart, for instance, is taken from Twitter’s last (March-April 2022) report to the EU. Note that the data is ‘global’, i.e., Twitter was reporting back to the European Commission on its censorship of content and accounts all over the world, not just in the EU.
To be clear then: It is strictly impossible that Twitter has not had contact with EU officials about censoring COVID-19 dissent, because the EU had a program specifically dedicated to the latter and Twitter was part of it. Furthermore, it is strictly impossible that Twitter is not continuing to have contact with EU officials about censoring online content and speech more generally.
This is because the EU’s “Fighting COVID19 Disinformation” program was launched within the framework of its more general so-called Code of Practice on Disinformation. Under the Code, Twitter and other online platforms and search engines have assumed commitments to combat – i.e., suppress – what the European Commission deems to be ‘misinformation’ or ‘disinformation’.