Twitter suspended a record 4,466 accounts for violating its “COVID-19 misinformation” rules in H1 2022, according to the latest stats in its COVID-19 Misinformation Transparency Report. This represents a more than 70% increase from its previous record of suspending 2,614 accounts for violating the COVID-19 misinformation rules in H2 2021.
The report also revealed that Twitter removed 13,803 pieces of content and challenged (forced the account owner to verify their account with an email or phone number) 7,025 accounts for violating its COVID-19 misinformation rules in H2 2021.
One of the most controversial aspects of Twitter’s far-reaching COVID-19 misinformation rules is that users who repeatedly claim that vaccinated people can spread COVID-19 can be banned from the platform.
When Twitter introduced this rule, even the CDC was admitting that vaccinated people can become infected and “have the potential to spread the virus to others.” More recently, former White House COVID response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx admitted during congressional testimony that the US government’s claim that the vaccinated can’t spread the virus was based on “hope” and acknowledged during a recent interview that she “knew” the vaccines do not protect against infection and that the US government “overplayed them.”
Despite these admissions and acknowledgments, this rule that bans users from saying vaccinated people can spread the virus is still in place.
Other claims that are banned under Twitter’s COVID-19 misinformation rules include “claims contrary to health authorities” that Twitter deems to “misrepresent research or statistical findings pertaining to the severity of the disease, prevalence of the virus, or effectiveness of widely accepted preventative measures, treatments, or vaccines” and claims that the vaccines are part of a “global surveillance” effort.
Twitter hasn’t published its censorship stats for July but several high-profile COVID commentators, including British consultant surgeon Tony Hinton and epidemiologist Andrew Bostom, have already been banned from the platform this month.