In an internal memo released by journalist David Zweiig, Jim Baker, Twitter's former deputy general counsel, asked two of the company's executives why Donald Trump's tweet about not being afraid of the COVID-19 pandemic wasn't considered a violation of its policy.
On October 5, 2020, Trump said he would be leaving the Walter Reed Medical Center after spending three days there due to a positive test for the virus. He noted that he felt better than he did two decades ago and urged people not to be afraid of the contagious disease.
In the memo, Zweiig noted that Baker, who used to be an FBI lawyer, asked Yoel Roth, the former head of the health and safety division of the company, and Stacia Cardille, the former legal executive, why Trump's tweet wasn't considered to be a violation of the policy.
According to Zweiig, Roth explained that Trump's tweet was a broad and optimistic statement, and it didn't encourage people to do anything harmful. It didn't recommend people to avoid taking precautions or follow specific guidelines.
33. Another example of human bias run amok was the reaction to this tweet by Trump. Many Trump tweets led to extensive internal debates, and this one was no different. pic.twitter.com/kQs1ADPVAk
— David Zweig (@davidzweig) December 26, 2022
The White House reportedly pressured Twitter to increase its efforts against misleading information. As a result, the company's managers were more likely to rule against accounts that criticized the administration's stance on the issue.
Andrew Bostom, a retired academic and physician, was temporarily suspended from Twitter after he received five strikes for allegedly spreading misinformation about vaccines. An internal audit conducted by the company's Site Integrity team revealed that four of the five strikes had been invalid. He was then reinstated, and the team was required to review all of his account's actions.
One of the five strikes that Bostom received was for his April 28, 2022, post, which claimed that the flu was worse than the COVID-19 virus. According to Zweig, the data presented by the doctor was legitimate, but it was still inconvenient to the public's perception of the risks associated with vaccines.
As part of the company's efforts to suppress the story, Baker was heavily involved in the decision to remove the New York Post's story from its platform. He claimed that cybersecurity experts were questioning the story's authenticity, and he pushed back against Roth's claim that the story wasn't breaking any of the company's rules. Shortly after the company decided to remove the story, Baker also called the FBI's general counsel.
The White House and Twitter did not respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation's request for comment.
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