YIKES: Twitter Files Show Platform Let Foreign Gov’t Dictate Who to Censor

May 24th, 2023 2:52 PM

Many shocking reports of Australia's draconian COVID-19 lockdown measures have come out over the last couple of years but the latest “Twitter Files Extra” show how far those measures went online.

The new supplemental Twitter files centered around the “The Covid Censorship Requests of Australia's Department of Home Affairs (DHA)” and reportedly helped confirm a report by The Australian. Andrew Lowenthal, author of the Network Affects Substack, tweeted that The Twitter Files team “found 18 DHA emails, collectively requesting 222 tweets be removed.”

He added that “Jokes & true information were included in censorship requests, which came from the “Social Cohesion Division” of the DHA’s ‘Extremism Insights and Communication’ office.” [Emphasis added.]

What’s worse is that it seems the Australian government even attempted to have U.S.-based Twitter censor users living outside Australia. “DHA seemed to deem itself sovereign over the entire Internet, targeting non-Australians under the spurious logic that they were ‘circulating a claim in Australia’s digital information environment,’” Lowenthal said

He noted that some tweets that the DHA slated for censorship featured contested information and were later found to be true. One example includes U.K.-based molecular biologist and biomedical lecturer, Tanya Klymenko. In a May 2021 tweet, she said that “1) SARS-Cov2 PCR test is flawed 2) SARS-Cov2 is man-made[.] #1 is pretty well accepted now and I’m about to see #2 going mainstream too.” 

The DHA apparently called the information “potentially harmful” and claimed that it "assessed [the tweet] to have breached Twitter's COVID-19 policies and protections....” The DHA, however, let its true colors show when it explained the tyrannical reason it really wanted the U.K. doctor’s voice silenced. “The post also attempts to undermine public confidence in in [sic] PCR test efficacy and contradicts official Government advice which states that PCR tests are currently considered the 'gold standard' in COVID-19 diagnosis.”

Lowenthal also said that Australia’s DHA even overstepped the scope of its already authoritarian aims. “In one case, they argued a post should be removed because a user claimed the government — specifically the Minister for Health — had used ‘emotionally manipulative language,’” he said.

In another instance, simply replying to a meme claiming that face masks don’t prevent COVID-19 transmission “was deemed too much for the fun police” and  “was considered to have contradicted ‘official information,’” according to Lowenthal. He also mentioned an incident where the  Australian government reportedly complained about an account with only 20 followers. 

It’s unclear how many tweets the old regime at Twitter took action on at the DHA’s behest. However, it’s telling that Twitter bowed to a foreign government repeatedly pushing the platform to behave like a state actor.

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