Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal has brought wave of high-profile bans
The first few months of new Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal’s tenure have validated fears his leadership would reduce free expression on the site, critics told The Post.
Numerous high-profile accounts have been banned — including a sitting member of Congress and a virologist who helped invent mRNA vaccine technology.
“It does appear that in the last month, particularly, Twitter has ramped up the censorship of people not just on the right, but people who go against the consensus,” Dan Gainor, of the conservative watchdog Media Research Center, said.
Since Agrawal took the reins, the site permabanned one of the accounts of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) for allegedly violating its “COVID-19 misinformation policy.”
“For Twitter to ban my account for what they perceive as COVID ‘misinformation’ is quite a concern, because the information I shared is actually from the CDC website,” she posted on Gettr, a GOP-friendly Twitter competitor.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) slammed Twitter’s move, and suggested that if Big Tech companies censor constitutionally protected speech, effectively acting as publishers, it should lose the protection of Section 230 — federal law which immunizes platforms from liability for third-party content.
Twitter also permanently barred Dr. Robert Malone — who has widely been credited with inventing the mRNA technology used in the Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 immunizations — without identifying the offending content. Malone’s posts had questioned the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
Another scientist, Prof. Michael Makris, who specialized in hemostasis and thrombosis at the University of Sheffield, had to delete a tweet on a new type of COVID-19 vaccine under development, or face a ban.
Just The News founder John Solomon was suspended for tweeting an article on the Food and Drug Administration’s statement that the fully approved Comirnaty vaccine is “legally distinct” from the emergency-approved Pfizer-BioNTech product, which is more widely available in the United States.
Popular news aggregator Politics for All — founded by Spectator social media editor Nick Moar — was also reportedly banned for unspecified “platform manipulation.”
Also booted from Twitter for good: Mystery Grove Publishing Company, a small press which publishes out-of-print books, such as the memoirs of the last White Russian commander in chief, Pyotr Wrangel.
Thought-policing is “more overt” under Agrawal than Twitter founder and ex-CEO Jack Dorsey, said Gainor, whose employer runs censortrack.org, which aggregates examples of online speech suppression.
He also noted a new “cross-functional working group” created by Twitter to monitor and censor speech around the one-year anniversary of the Capitol riot.
“Sounds pretty Orwellian,” Arizona Senate candidate Blake Masters told The Post. “They don’t want people on the right side of the political aisle to be discussing January 6th.”
Masters, an active Twitter user, said he has noticed an “uptick” in high-profile bans, as well as several indiscriminate mass account “purges.”
“Dorsey was at least relatively better than this new guy,” he said.
Meanwhile, former New York Times reporter and lockdown skeptic Alex Berenson has sued the $32 billion tech company over his ban in August 2020, alleging that Twitter may have banned him acting “on behalf of the federal government.”
“[T]he extraordinarily close nexus between the July 2021 statements by senior executive branch officials — including President Biden himself — calling for censorship by such companies and Twitter’s corresponding immediate actions against Mr. Berenson mean that this issue merits closer scrutiny,” his complaint, filed in California federal court on Dec. 20, said.