TOP TRENDING

The journalist says she was banned from her account because of her Covid post


A journalist today accused Twitter of suspending users for failing to tow the line of government on Covid after being banned from their account for a post condemning the banning.

Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson responded to a BBC article on the risk of coronavirus spreading in universities when she tweeted that she wanted students to get the virus to speed us toward herd immunity.

The job resulted in her account being suspended for a day – although she insisted that this view reflect the opinions of scientists, including Oxford's Prof. Sunetra Gupta and Nobel Prize winner Prof. Michael Levitt.

The government has pressured social media companies to tackle "false and misleading stories" about Covid and claims through its Rapid Response Unit to have "resolved" 70 such incidents per week.

This led some commentators to draw a line between Pearson's experience and the government's broader drive against perceived misinformation, with Big Brother Watch accusing ministers of Orwellian trying to oversee police legal speech.

Daily Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson responded to a BBC article on the risk of coronavirus spreading in universities when she tweeted that she wanted students to get the virus to speed us toward herd immunity.

Pearson's full tweet, posted on Monday, read, “How hard is it for people to understand? We want students to get the virus. They will accelerate us towards community immunity. It can't be very far away. & # 39;

She was banned from her account until yesterday morning, although it was later restored 12 hours later and is still alive to this day.

After explaining what had happened, she asked on the Telegraph, “Is it a coincidence that the Twitter algorithms that got me on the Naughty Step for 12 hours are so closely aligned with government policy?

"Or can left-handed people turn off any version of the truth other than their own?"

Author Lionel Shriver had previously removed an audio column about the importance of obesity to YouTube's Covid death statistics because it "contradicted" guidelines from the World Health Organization.

The government has urged social media companies to step up their efforts to address the perceived misinformation about Covid.

The Rapid Response Unit, which operates within the Cabinet Office and No. 10, is involved in identifying “false stories” online and reporting them to the social media companies to be revolved.

Ministers insist that this work is vital to ensure that the public has access to adequate medical advice to protect themselves and save lives.

But today campaign group Big Brother Watch suggested that the unity – and Twitter's suspension of Pearson – were examples of a broader attempt to "censor" freedom of expression around the virus.

Its director, Silkie Carlo, said: “It is a violation of Twitter's fundamental rights to censor people's legitimate opinions, even if they are controversial or poorly worded.

“The pandemic makes freedom of expression, open debate and rebuttal more important, not less. Censorship has never helped science, only power.

"It is a little-known fact that a mysterious government" anti-disinformation "unit is pressuring social media companies to act as voice police online and silence legitimate opinions. It is Orwellian in the extreme. & # 39;

The government has urged social media companies to step up their efforts to combat the perceived misinformation about Covid. Boris Johnson is pictured today

The government has urged social media companies to step up their efforts to address the perceived misinformation about Covid. Boris Johnson is pictured today

Brexit party leader Richard Tice also criticized the government's initiative.

He said, “There is a clear line between preventing criminal fraud and preventing real debate from people.

& # 39; Twitter has transcended this, possibly endorsed and endorsed by the government which runs counter to Imperial College and is clearly trying to stifle the views of Oxford University scholars.

"It's appalling and terrifying what to expect in North Korea, not Whitehall."

Meirion Jenkins, a Conservative Alderman for Sutton Mere Green in Birmingham, described Twitter's move as "quite worrying".

"Alison is obviously a very believable, high quality, and believable journalist. I agree with almost everything she says, but that's not really the point," he said.

“Whether you agree or disagree with restricting what they can tweet as they are actually based.

"In large part it should be left to the common sense of the UK public to read the information available there and it will be up to them to decide."

Pearson's criticism of the lockdown was echoed by several leading scholars, including Professors Sunetra Gupta

Pearson's criticism of the lockdown was echoed by several leading scholars, including Professors Sunetra Gupta

Pearson's criticism of the lockdown was echoed by several leading scholars, including Professors Sunetra Gupta and Michael Levitt, whom she referred to in her article.

Both scientists criticized the government's lockdown, with Prof. Gupta arguing that restrictions weaken the immune system and make people vulnerable to future pandemics.

The epidemiologist also published a study suggesting that the coronavirus had arrived in the UK in December causing significant "herd immunity" – rivaling official advice from Imperial College's Neil Ferguson that it could cause 500,000 deaths.

Professor Levitt Stanford University chemist also criticized lockdowns as a "panic", suggesting the measures cost more lives than they saved.

Pearson also attacked ministers for claiming the rule of six could curb Christmas gatherings, saying it was "disgusting" to claim the celebration was "their gift".

Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have vowed to combat the “misinformation” published by Covid during the pandemic.

Facebook is now sending mythical messages to users who liked, responded, or commented on posts with "harmful misinformation" about the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, Twitter is marking tweets with controversial information – but insists that only searches that are "harmful" are removed.

Twitter said: & # 39; We carefully and impartially enforce Twitter rules for all account holders. If we identify an account that violates our rules, we will take enforcement action. & # 39;

Professor Levitt Stanford University chemist also criticized lockdowns as "panicking" and suggested the measures cost more lives than they saved

Professor Levitt Stanford University chemist also criticized lockdowns as "panicking" and suggested that the measures cost more lives than they saved