Twitter bans mRNA vaccine pioneer-turned-critic. His response? 'Constant clown show'
Social media censorship ramps up against perceived threats to COVID-19 narratives. Fact-checker set up straw man to deem mask article false, author claims.
A social media purge may be accelerating against reporting and commentary perceived at odds with conventional storylines on COVID-19.
Twitter permanently suspended mRNA vaccine pioneer-turned-critic Robert Malone's account Wednesday for "spreading misleading and potentially harmful information" about the novel coronavirus, according to a notice Malone shared with Just the News.
That was the same basis for Twitter's 12-hour suspension of Just the News founder John Solomon's account on Tuesday, for sharing an "unsafe" JTN report about the legal distinctions between COVID-19 vaccines. Multiple experts, however, called the article that Solomon shared accurate.
And on Monday, Facebook throttled a daily news roundup by Reason editor Robby Soave because he called a school mask study promoted by the CDC "junk science."
"There's no surprise left. It's just a constant clown show," Malone told Just the News after his ban was imposed Wednesday.
"We had anticipated being de-platformed by Twitter for a while," he said, citing Twitter's fact-checking agreement with the Associated Press and Reuters. He faults the latter for a "twisted" fact-check of his claim that the spike protein on mRNA vaccines is cytotoxic.
That's why Malone and his wife Jill, who together run a government consulting business, have been more active on Gettr, the social media platform led by former President Trump's advisor Jason Miller. Malone said Miller reached out to him after the suspension.
Twitter spokesperson Katie Rosborough told Just the News Thursday that Malone had at least five "strikes" on his account, which triggers permanent suspension under its "COVID-19 misleading information" policy. She declined to specify which tweets received strikes.
Malone’s only previous sanction was a 12-hour suspension for "posting something with a commercial intent (near as I could tell)," Malone said. He has also received complaints about his tweets required by "German law" over the past year.
But he suspects his "big sin" was sharing the Canadian Covid Care Alliance's analysis of Pfizer's "adverse event reports" from the first six months of its COVID vaccine's emergency use authorization.
In a Substack essay Wednesday, posted before his account went down, Malone characterized that analysis as showing the "inoculations cause more illness than they prevent" - a claim at odds with mainstream scientific opinion.
France-owned newswire service AFP countered the Canadian Covid Care Alliance's claims several months ago and similar claims earlier this month, arguing the Pfizer data had been misconstrued.
It quoted a Pfizer spokesperson who said the causes of the 1,223 fatalities among 158,893 adverse effects had not been verified, and reflect "spontaneous" reports from sources in several countries. An FDA spokesperson said "the vast majority of the deaths reported are not directly attributable to the vaccines."
The last archive of Malone's Twitter page Wednesday afternoon doesn't show him promoting the analysis. But his final tweets linked to a British Medical Journal investigation into "data integrity issues in Pfizer’s vaccine trial" and a related interview.
He also claimed the World Economic Forum had published a "roadmap" for "managing us," citing WEF's "Transformation Map" on peace and resilience. "This is the face of global information control and warfare," he told Just the News, referring to the map. "It's not just Twitter."
Malone announced his suspension on Substack and encouraged readers to sign up for his newsletter. "Over a half million followers gone in a blink of an eye," he wrote, referring to his Twitter audience. "That means I must have been on the mark, so to speak."
Created less than a month ago to share "deeper" essays and research, the newsletter had 35,000 subscribers Wednesday morning, he told Just the News. It "just exploded" after Twitter deplatformed him later in the day.
A much larger audience will get to hear from Malone soon. He's scheduled to go on Joe Rogan's podcast, by some measures the most popular in America.
It's not his first brush with social media censorship this year.
LinkedIn briefly shut down Malone's personal account after he highlighted heart inflammation reports in young men following COVID vaccination, which has made him "very cautious" on the business-focused social network.
YouTube removed his interview with former Evergreen State College evolutionary biologist Bret Weinstein, who accused Twitter of "declaring war on the public and the scientific process" by suspending him.
"Robert Malone has risked his reputation and career to serve the public interest," Weinstein tweeted Wednesday.
"Twitter does not have the expertise to judge whether Robert Malone's thinking on matters of covid science and policy are correct or incorrect," Jay Bhattacharya, Stanford School of Medicine professor, wrote in an email to Just the News. "Banning scientists from twitter impoverishes the public discussion about covid and diminishes trust in big tech and public health."
"Another major blow to free scientific inquiry and open public policy debates," tweeted bioethicist Aaron Kheriaty, who was fired by the University of California earlier this month for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID, citing his natural immunity.
Reason's Soave is the author of the new book "Tech Panic," which argues "we shouldn't fear Facebook" and questions the legislative push to erode liability protections for Big Tech.
His news roundup Monday summarized an Atlantic feature titled "The CDC's flawed case for wearing masks in school."
Facebook's contracted fact-checker Science Feedback didn't touch the Atlantic feature but deemed Soave's article false, which triggers Facebook to "significantly" limit its spread, cover the content with a "false" warning and direct readers to Science Feedback's explanation.
Unlike Malone and Solomon, Soave received an explanation for the sanction: It was a mistake.
He said he extracted an apology from Science Feedback for misattributing the claim "there's no science behind masks on kids" to his article, which only questions the soundness of the study promoted by the CDC. The original fact-check was written in response to a Federalist article from August.
It was the second time the organization misattributed a claim to a Reason staffer, according to Soave. John Stossel, the former ABC journalist who now makes videos for the libertarian publication, is suing Facebook and Science Feedback for defamation via botched fact-check.
Facebook didn't respond to queries from Just the News about whether it's reconsidering its relationship with Science Feedback or other fact-checkers.
Science Feedback didn't answer queries on how closely its staff read the articles they are reviewing for accuracy, whether any were sanctioned for botched fact-checks, and how it may be revising procedures in response to the Soave and Stossel incidents.
The Facts Inside Our Reporter's Notebook
- mRNA vaccine pioneer-turned-critic
- sharing an "unsafe" JTN report
- school mask study promoted by the CDC "junk science
- fact-checking agreement
- twisted" fact-check
- more active on Gettr
- led by former President Trump's advisor Jason Miller
- Canadian Covid Care Alliance's analysis
- Substack essay
- last archive of his Twitter page
- British Medical Journal investigation
- related interview
- WEF's "Transformation Map
- Malone announced his suspension
- He's scheduled
- LinkedIn briefly shut down Malone's personal account
- Weinstein tweeted
- tweeted bioethicist Aaron Kheriaty
- fired by the University of California
- new book "Tech Panic
- The CDC's flawed case for wearing masks in school
- triggers Facebook to "significantly" limit
- He said he extracted an apology
- Federalist article from August
- John Stossel
- suing Facebook and Science Feedback