COVID-19 Censorship is Here: Twitter Caught Deleting Retweets of Project Veritas Tweet
Well known for censoring conservatives, Twitter has done it again. The victims this time? Project Veritas, the undercover investigative journalists who record and films the left doing corrupt things. It just caught Twitter deleting retweets of one of their tweets. Project Veritas had tweeted a video it made about padding the numbers of COVID-19 deaths.
Their video exposing it shows the retweet number going from 6,324 retweets to 5,981.
UNBELIEVABLE! Our team just caught @Twitter red handed stealing retweets off our new #COVID19 story.
What are you doing @jack?
Don’t believe it? Watch for yourself.
cc: @elonmusk pic.twitter.com/jESTswD0sy
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) April 30, 2020
Here is the video that had retweets removed.
“To be honest with you, all of the death certificates, they’re writing #COVID on all the death certificates. Whether they had a positive test, whether they didn’t.” – Michael Lanza Funeral Director, Colonial Funeral Home pic.twitter.com/QqHWQGU6qe
— Project Veritas (@Project_Veritas) May 2, 2020
We Don’t Have Enough Information Yet to Know All That is Incorrect About COVID-19
This is just one of many incidents of censorship by the social media giants taking place in regards to COVID-19. They claim they are disallowing information that is false or conspiracy theories. But a lot of what we know about COVID-19 keeps changing. We don’t have all the answers yet. YouTube said it will take down videos that go against the WHO’s guidelines. But the WHO makes mistakes. In late January, the U.N. agency issued a correction to its assessment that the global risk of COVID-19 was only “moderate.” Instead, the agency should have labeled the risk “high.”
The WHO announced on January 22 that COVID-19 could be spread person to person. But Taiwan had told the WHO this on December 31. Why the delay? Trump tweeted about it, accusing the WHO of further misinformation.
Why did the W.H.O. Ignore an email from Taiwanese health officials in late December alerting them to the possibility that CoronaVirus could be transmitted between humans? Why did the W.H.O. make several claims about the CoronaVirus that ere either inaccurate or misleading….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020
….in January and February, as the Virus spread globally? Why did the W.H.O. wait as long as it did to take decisive action? Lanhee Chen, Hoover Institution Fellow @FoxNews
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2020
YouTube Censored a Video Because it Would Have Made Trump Look Good
YouTube took down a video by two doctors which suggested COVID-19 death tolls are being boosted. They also urged an end to lockdowns because they do more harm than good. After Trump was ridiculed for suggesting UV rays might be used to kill COVID-19, YouTube pulled a video down by a company proposing to do just that.
Twitter has censored Project Veritas before. Last June, Twitter suspended the group’s account for posting internal communications from Pinterest revealing bias against Christians and conservatives. It caught employees calling conservative Jewish pundit Ben Shapiro a white supremacist. The company censored Christian, pro-life content and the term “Bible.” The pro-life group LiveAction found itself blocked as an allegedly pornographic site. Pinterest eventually completely banned LiveAction.
Breaking News: Twitter has decided that investigative journalism is in violation of their terms of service – @Project_Veritas has been temporarily suspended from posting for tweeting internal communications from @Pinterest which show them calling @benshapiro a "white supremacist" pic.twitter.com/eJNDWEfanf
— James O'Keefe (@JamesOKeefeIII) June 12, 2019
YouTube piled on, banning a video Project Veritas had uploaded explaining the Pinterest expose.
More Unfair Twitter Censorship
Earlier this year, Twitter shut down Project Veritas founder James O’Keefe’s personal account, saying it violated Twitter rules against posting personal information. O’Keefe had tweeted Washington Post reporter Dave Weigel asking for a retraction, which he did. Weigel had written that two men were volunteers on the Bernie Sanders campaign. O’Keefe said they were not, they were paid staffers, and linked to the public campaign finance documents reflecting so. They contained the men’s addresses, which Twitter claimed was doxxing. Obviously, O’Keefe was not trying to expose the men’s addresses to be malicious, and their addresses were already public record in the campaign reporting system.
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Generally, if there is enough of an outcry, Twitter will back down. But not always. Robert Stacy McCain, a funny, well-spoken conservative who I know personally, was permanently banned from Twitter in 2016. He had a clever way of refuting feminists and although Twitter did not tell him why he was banned, I suspect that was the reason. McCain was always getting the best of them, a very bright mind. We miss him.
What makes the problem of conservative censorship difficult to solve? Twitter and other social media platforms aren’t really protected free speech zones. They’re private companies so the First Amendment generally doesn’t apply to them. They are either a platform or a publisher. If they are a platform, then they must carry content from others without discriminating against any of it. As such, they are protected from lawsuits such as libel. If they are a publisher, they can edit, remove or not publish as they wish, but they can be sued. So the social media giants have been trying to have it both ways, claiming to be platforms but discriminating like publishers.
Is Social Media Free Speech?
There is momentum to treat the social media giants as free speech platforms. The reasoning? Since the vast majority of speech takes place there now, they now act like public utilities which are subject to regulation. A federal district court judge ruled last July that President Trump can’t block Twitter accounts from following him, because it constitutes “unconstitutional viewpoint discrimination” violating the First Amendment.
The odds are things aren’t going to continue with the same status quo. People are fed up with the censorship and Congress has been doing a lot of investigating. Unless the social media giants back down with the censorship of conservatives, the clamoring for change is just going to get louder.
Rachel Alexander is a senior editor of The Stream. Follow her on Twitter at Rach_IC. Follow The Stream at streamdotorg. Send tips to [email protected].
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