Credit: Linus Strandholm / Scopio

Politics lecturer hits out at “Big Tech censorship” after suspension by Twitter

Politics lecturer, David Thunder, has hit back at what he described as “Big Tech censorship” after being suspended from Twitter 

The commentator says he lost 25,000 Twitter followers after being accused of propagating “false or misleading information” on Covid-19.

“To be on the receiving end of Big Tech censorship is to see its stunning arbitrariness up-close,” he said. He pointed to Facebook’s reversal of its stance on the Wuhan lab-leak theories and claimed that what was flagged as misinformation at one point might later be shown to be a valid query.

“Facebook’s embarrassingly abrupt reversal of its censorship of lab leak theories should serve as an invaluable lesson to all of us about the dangers of Big Tech censorship. Today’s “misinformation” may be tomorrow’s un-disputed truths,” Thunder said.

The researcher and lecturer said he received a notification from Twitter on 13th October that his account had been suspended, on grounds of propagating “false or misleading information” on Covid-19, “which may lead to harm.”

When he appealed the decision, and was told that due to “repeat violations” of their rules, the suspension would be permanent.

He said that the final flagged tweet that sparked the permanent account suspension “asserted three things”:

“That Ivermectin was being used successfully to treat Covid patients in many parts of the world, including Mexico and India; that many Western regulators were positively discouraging its use; and that Ivermectin had a far better safety profile than the Covid vaccines, which were being actively promoted by public authorities for use by the general population.”

“The basic point of my tweet was to expose the hypocrisy of regulators who, in the face of a growing body of experimental and clinical evidence showing that Ivermectin, a very safe drug on the WHO’s list of “essential medicines,” could significantly mitigate Covid disease outcomes and potentially save many lives, continued to actively suppress its use by physicians, while simultaneously endorsing the near-universal use of an experimental vaccine (i.e., a vaccine still under trial) with a much worse safety profile (in terms of reported adverse events and deaths), on the logic of emergency use authorisation,” he said.

Thunder referred to metastudies about Ivermectin trials  and to “expert testimony by medical researchers and physicians …. concerning the prophylactic and therapeutic value of Ivermectin against Covid-19.”

He acknowledged that “some qualified scientists and doctors remain unconvinced by the clinical and experimental evidence for the efficacy of Ivermectin. So there is an ongoing scientific dispute about whether, or to what degree, it is an effective treatment for Covid-19.”

In the United States, the FDA has advised people not to use Ivermectin as a treatment against covid-19. Some studies which supported its use have been criticised as inadequate or withdrawn.

Twitter and Facebook have also adopted a position against any description of Covid-149 vaccines as unsafe – asserting that the European Medicines Agency have stated that “the authorised COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective. They were evaluated in tens of thousands of participants in clinical trials and have met EMA’s scientific standards for safety, efficacy and quality.”

However, Thunder says that different perspectives on Covid-19 vaccines and perspectives should be allowed.

Referring to Ivermectin he wrote: “The owners and managers of Twitter are entitled to form personal opinions about these disputes. But that does not give them the right to suppress perspectives and claims they do not agree with, particularly in regard to a routine medicine that has an excellent safety profile and has been used by millions of people across the world for over 20 years.”

“Twitter would undoubtedly reply that it is a private company, and thus has every right to make up its own rules, and enforce them in its own way. But this overlooks the fact that it now controls a large slice of our public sphere, and therefore fulfils a public function, irrespective of who its owners happen to be,” he said.

“Twitter now services a large chunk of the infrastructure of public debate and discourse, one of the backbones of a vibrant democracy. What makes Twitter’s public function even more impressive is the fact that it, along with Youtube and Facebook, effectively exerts an unrivalled oligopoly over the digital public sphere.”

“While censorship arguably has some legitimate role to play in screening out violent and patently abusive content, or content that promotes self-destructive or other-destructive behaviour, Twitter has taken it upon itself to rally behind the views of certain experts and against the views of others, enforcing whatever it takes to be scientific and political orthodoxy on a variety of topics.”

“But the only way to justify such an extensive power of censorship is on the basis that the person exercising such power has some clear superiority over the persons being censored: the censor must be either wiser, morally superior, or more knowledgeable and enlightened than others.”

“Why should we expect censors to have a level of knowledge and virtue that permits them to stand majestically above the fray of public debates among citizens, philosophers, doctors and scientists, and decide who is right and who is wrong? What is it about getting nominated to a Twitter censorship committee, or to one of the expert bodies that Twitter relies upon, that suddenly qualifies someone to authoritatively settle complex scientific, moral and political disputes and determine which is the winning side?,” he wrote.

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