Since introducing its controversial ban on “denial of expert guidance” about the coronavirus less than a month ago, Twitter has already removed 1,000 tweets which include tweets from world leaders and public figures.
Now it appears that sharing an opinion on the negative health impacts of following this expert guidance is enough for an account to be sanctioned under these rules.
Twitter recently locked the account of popular pro-Trump political commentators Diamond and Silk for tweeting:
“The only way we can become immune to the environment; we must be out in the environment. Quarantining people inside of their houses for extended periods will make people sick!”
In the tweet, Diamond and Silk share their opinion on what they think are the negative effects of extended quarantining periods.
In another tweet, the duo recommended that people “stay home.”
To all of my brothers and sisters especially my black brother's and sisters, please make sure you are washing your hands, continue to practice social distancing and stay home!
— Diamond and Silk® (@DiamondandSilk) April 7, 2020
Regardless, several journalists complained about the tweet and claimed it was “dangerous,” “irresponsible,” “coronavirus misinformation,” and could “Get. People. Killed.”
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) April 8, 2020
This. Will. Get. People. Killed. https://t.co/V4eKzVUz4q
— David Corn (@DavidCornDC) April 8, 2020
This is a dangerous and irresponsible use of a platform. https://t.co/kOgmYLM3TO
— Kathryn Watson (@kathrynw5) April 8, 2020
Meanwhile, these two geniuses are out there encouraging people to get sick and die. https://t.co/RsZvj6f5wB
— Charles Johnson (@Green_Footballs) April 8, 2020
Shortly after these complaints, Twitter said the tweet violated its rules around coronavirus misinformation, locked Diamond and Silk’s account, and forced them to delete the tweet.
The removal of the tweet is reflective of the larger big tech crackdown on content that prohibits questioning mainstream advice on the coronavirus, even when that advice turns out be wrong.
Not only is this creating a one sided discussion around the coronavirus but it’s also creating an environment where independent creators and their communities are being increasingly suppressed when discussing the virus.