Social media company Twitter finished its week of apparently politically motivated censorship on its platform by banning tweets regarding the efficacy of masks from Scott Atlas, a member of the White House scientific team battling the coronavirus.
Atlas, a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institute, not only had his tweets removed, he was banned from tweeting until he deleted the tweets that Twitter for unclear reasons objects to. Here are the tweets in question:
In an email to The Federalist, Atlas outlined the evidence behind his tweet.
In the deleted tweet, I cited the following evidence against general population masks:
1) Cases exploded even with mandates: Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County, Hawaii, Alabama, the Philippines, Japan, the United Kingdom, Spain, France, Israel.
2) Dr. Carl Heneghan, University of Oxford, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine and editor in chief of British Medical Journal Evidence-Based Medicine: ‘It would appear that despite two decades of pandemic preparedness, there is considerable uncertainty as to the value of wearing masks.’
3) The WHO: ‘The widespread use of masks by healthy people in the community setting is not yet supported by high quality or direct scientific evidence and there are potential benefits and harms to consider’ (http://bitly.ws/afUm)
4) The CDC: ‘Our systematic review found no significant effect of face masks on transmission of laboratory-confirmed influenza.’ (https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/26/5/19-0994_article).
I also cited an article giving detailed explanation of the reasons why masks might not prevent spread: https://t.co/1hRFHsxe59
Notwithstanding this evidence regarding arguably the most important and contentious debate raging in American society — the constant mandate of masks — it appears some 20-something with his pronouns in his Twitter bio just pushed a button and erased scientifically accurate information. For some reason, which hopefully Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey can explain when he is dragged before the Senate, Atlas was silenced by the tech giant.
This comes the same week that Twitter blocked New York Post articles alleging improprieties involving presidential candidate Joe Biden, his son Hunter, and the Ukrainian energy company Burisma revealed by a laptop now held by the FBI. For good measure, Twitter also banned the New York Post’s official Twitter account from the platform.
Universal masking is a subject of scientific dispute, and just happens to be a contentious political argument in the midst of the 2020 presidential election. Under the dubious policy of stopping the spread of disinformation, Twitter has silenced an expert on the matter for what seems to be politically motivated purposes.
Twitter, which claims to be a neutral platform and enjoys legal protection as such, has once again proven that not only does it have an editorial agenda, it has a political one. You see, the information overlords at Twitter dot com will decide what information and what facts the masses like you and me are allowed to consume on their platform.
That would be fine if they were a publisher and treated as such legally, but for now they are not. Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act gives Twitter special protection to engage in censorship, but after this week of obviously politically motivated silencing, many in Congress are looking to stripping the company of that protection.
Twitter’s reasoning behind banning information that questions the efficacy of masks is as opaque as a smile behind one. Like much of the traditional media, it seems to believe that the American people are too stupid to confront and analyze actual information, and instead must be spoon-fed instructions like toddlers. You don’t have to know why you must cover your face everywhere you go, you just have to do it!
This is enough; it was well past enough already, frankly. Twitter is now censoring important and much-needed scientific information that the American people need to make informed decisions about their health. If Dorsey wants to be a mask busybody while he parties maskless with Beyonce and Jay Z on a yacht, so be it. The mask rules don’t apply to him. But the laws of the United States should and must.
Twitter is no neutral platform. This fact is as obvious as a punch in the mouth, which is exactly what Congress needs to give it. Free speech is as central to the American experiment as any concept is, and as foreign to Twitter as could be.
It would be a shame if screen captures of Atlas’s tweets somehow found their way onto Twitter, I know @Jack would be dismayed — if he’s not in Indonesia engaging in fasting and spiritual development.