How Twitter Rigged the Covid Debate
The platform suppressed true information from doctors and public-health experts that was at odds with U.S. government policy.
By David ZweigMonday, Dec 26, 2022

By the time reporter David Zweig got to the 10th floor conference room at Twitter Headquarters on Market Street in San Francisco, the story of the Twitter Files was already international news. Matt Taibbi, Michael Shellenberger, Leighton Woodhouse, Abigail Shrier, Lee Fang and I had revealed evidence of hidden blacklists of Twitter users; the way Twitter acted as a kind of FBI subsidiary; and how company executives rewrote the platform’s policies on the fly to accommodate political bias and pressure.

What we had yet to crack was the story of Covid.

David has spent three years reporting on Covid—specifically the underlying science, or lack thereof, behind many of our nation’s policies. For years he had noticed and criticized a bias not only in the mainstream media’s coverage of the pandemic, but also in the way it was presented on platforms like Twitter.

We couldn’t think of anyone better to tackle this story. — BW

I had always thought a primary job of the press was to be skeptical of power—especially the power of the government. But during the Covid-19 pandemic, I and so many others found that the legacy media had shown itself to largely operate as a messaging platform for our public health institutions. Those institutions operated in near total lockstep, in part by purging internal dissidents and discrediting outside experts.

Twitter became an essential alternative. It was a place where those with public health expertise and perspectives at odds with official policy could air their views—and where curious citizens could find such information. This often included other countries’ responses to Covid that differed dramatically from our own.

But it quickly became clear that Twitter also seemed to promote content that reinforced the establishment narrative, and to suppress views and even scientific evidence that ran to the contrary.

Was I imagining things? Was the pattern I and others witnessed proof of purposeful intent? An algorithm gone rogue? Or something else? In other words: When it came to Covid, and the information shared on a service used by hundreds of millions of people, what exactly was being amplified? And what was being banned or censored?

So when The Free Press asked if I would go to Twitter to peek behind the curtain, I took the first flight out of New York.

Here’s what I found...