COVID critic Bhattacharya: Twitter censors 'harmed science, harmed children, harmed American public'

"Open discussion" would have led to shorter lockdowns, fewer school closures, doctor argues.

Updated: December 9, 2022 - 2:08pm

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Twitter's sweeping blacklist policies directly harmed the American public, a noted COVID critic is arguing after the social media's broad "shadowban" practices have come to light. 

Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine and health research policy at Stanford University, has been a longtime critic of much of the response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, having for years argued against extreme measures such as lockdowns and mask mandates in the fight against COVID-19. 

Bhattacharya was among the individuals revealed this week to have been on a series of Twitter blacklists the social media company instituted over the last several years.

On Thursday he told Fox News host Laura Ingraham that the throttling of his reach on Twitter "feels like some novel from the 1950s," with the professor referring to the where the House Un-American Committee's history of blacklisting celebrities suspected of political dissent.

"It’s ridiculous," he told Ingraham, "and it really hurt public health. If we had had an open discussion, Laura, the schools would not have closed in the fall of 2020. If we’d had an open discussion, the lockdowns would have been lifted much earlier because the data and evidence behind them was so bad."

"Twitter, by suppressing scientific discussion harmed science, harmed children, and harmed the American public," he said. 

The blacklist files were released on Thursday as part of new Twitter owner Elon Musk's efforts to reveal the social media company's practices over the past several years.