Twitter has suspended the account of @IsChinar (Harry Chen PhD) – a move apparently linked to content tweeted by the account concerning the coronavirus outbreak in China.
@StephaniaBecker (Stephania Becker) broke the news about this development, saying that the suspension came after the user “spent weeks posting insider video from Wuhan about coronavirus & rampant abuses by CCP (Chinese Communist Party).”
But it would appear that the Instagram account of the suspended Twitter user – whom Becker said was one of the “truth tellers” now targeted by Twitter – remained online.
There is no information about the reasons Twitter has given – if any – for the shutting down of the account.
However, Becker, whose bio on the social platform says she is a radiologist and a director at the Getty Parker Center of Sonology – a research outfit – seems taken aback by a US social network like Twitter suspending accounts challenging China’s authorities and politics.
She also wonders if Twitter was doing this on behalf of China. However, Twitter is more likely to be working to meet its own moderation/censorship standards around all types of content that is deemed to be misinformation.
In a blog post in late January the social site announced it was determined to highlight “credible” information and promote constructive engagement about the virus.
Twitter at the time said there was no discernible campaign to promote hoaxes about the spread of the virus, but shared that it had “proactive abilities to ensure trends, search, and other common areas of the service are protected from malicious behaviors.”
One of these is putting a warning label linking to “credible, authoritative” information first – when searching for “coronavirus.”
Meanwhile, Stephania Becker – whose scientific research has to do with neutralizing viruses using specialized sound waves and who on Twitter focuses on cases of alleged underreporting of the spread of coronavirus – asked her followers if they knew of any alternative accounts now that @IsChinar was gone.
What most came up with, however, were alternative social networks, mentioning decentralized protocols like Mastodon, and apps like Telegram.
Others complained that a number of their friends and collaborators also had their Twitter accounts suspended recently.
Not everyone was impressed by the quality of @IsChinar’s insider info, though, saying the account was mostly about “fear mongering.”
Becker agreed, but said that despite “some shocking material that would pop up from him” Twitter was not going after other questionable content that isn’t linked to the outbreak.