Indian-origin prof was ‘blacklisted’ on Twitter for Covid info: Report


New York, Dec 10

Jay Bhattacharya, an Indian-origin Stanford University professor, who had said that Covid lockdowns would harm children, was placed on a "Trends Blacklist", internal Twitter documents have revealed

The second instalment of "Twitter Files", released by journalist Bari Weiss on her social media platform, took the lid off cases where the microblogging website prevented the tweets from trending.

Weiss shares a screenshot on her Twitter, which shows Bhattacharya's account marked as having a "recent abuse strike" and as being on a "trends blacklist".

"...Take, for example, Stanford's Dr Jay Bhattacharya, who argued that Covid lockdowns would harm children. Twitter secretly placed him on a "Trends Blacklist", which prevented his tweets from trending," Weiss wrote on Twitter.

Weiss said that the "investigation reveals that teams of Twitter employees build blacklists, prevent disfavoured tweets from trending, and actively limit the visibility of entire accounts or even trending topics -- all in secret, without informing users".

"This secret group included the Head of Legal, Policy, and Trust (Vijaya Gadde), the Global Head of Trust & Safety (Yoel Roth), subsequent CEOs Jack Dorsey and Parag Agrawal, and others," she mentioned in a tweet thread.

Twitter always denied that it did such things.

In 2018, Gadde and Kayvon Beykpour, Head of Product, said: "We do not shadow ban. And we certainly don't shadow ban based on political viewpoints or ideology."

After Weiss' revelations, Bhattacharya took to his Twitter to say: "Still trying to process my emotions on learning that @twitter blacklisted me. The thought that will keep me up tonight: censorship of scientific discussion permitted policies like school closures & a generation of children were hurt."

"I'm curious about what role the government played in Twitter's suppression of covid policy discussion. We will see with time, I suppose," Bhattacharya said in an earlier tweet.

The "Twitter Files 2" came after former CEO Jack Dorsey challenged Elon Musk to stop creating a sensation around the 'Twitter Files' and make everything public instead "without filter".

Musk last week released the first episode of 'The Twitter Files' into the controversial decision to suppress Hunter Biden's laptop story on the platform.


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