Twitter admits it wrongfully banned the site ZeroHedge, but its history of selective enforcement is still infamous.
The COVID-19 virus’s origins, lethality, and cures have been hotly debated throughout 2020, to the point where social media platforms have heavily restricted many users’ posts. As a rare exception, one website has been reinstated after users thought it was gone forever. “133 days after Twitter ‘permanently’ banned Zero Hedge on January 31, the social network has reinstated us after admitting it made an error,” skeptic outlet ZeroHedge revealed June 14.
Twitter previously banned ZeroHedge’s account for allegedly violating Twitter’s platform manipulation policy by theorizing about the Wuhan virus’s origins. The initial ZeroHedge article suggested that the mainstream narrative about coronavirus being spread thanks to some bat soup was a “fabricated farce.”
ZeroHedge suggested that it had been punished for speculating on the virus’s origins using publicly available information:
“Shortly after we asked if ‘This [Is] The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic’, referring to Wuhan Institute Of Virology scientist Peng Zhou (who three months later was being investigated by western spy agencies for his role in creating Covid) and some low-grade ‘reporter’ from Buzzfeed decided to report us to Twitter for ‘doxxing’ Zhou using publicly available information, Twitter told us that the account had been suspended for ‘violating Twitter rules against abuse and harassment’, which was false as we neither incited abuse nor harrassment, [sic] but merely asked questions.”
A Twitter spokesperson reportedly told the Verge, “We made an error in our enforcement action in this case. Based on additional context from the account holder in appeal, we have reinstated the account. We have a dedicated appeals process for all account holders.”
While Twitter is allowed due credit for acknowledging a bad call, it has a history of selective enforcement of its rules.
Twitter allowed Chinese officials to spread misinformation propaganda across the platform. Twitter allowed Spokesperson & Deputy Director General, Information, Department, Foreign Ministry of China Lijian Zhao to speculate that the American military might be the source of the virus. Zhao had posted articles suggesting the Wuhan virus originated in the United States and speculated in a tweet: “It might be US army who brought the epidemic to Wuhan.”
The Chinese Embassy in France later tweeted an absurd, lego-based propaganda video on April 30. The video, “Once Upon a Virus… ,” featured numerous demonstrably untrue myths, acting as if the Chinese communist government and World Health Organization (“WHO”) have both been forthcoming about the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Twitter had warned that there would be some mistakes in its content moderation, but why it allowed misinformation propaganda from high-profile accounts is a question that remains unanswered.