Writer Alex Berenson reported on Friday about the Biden administration seeking to influence Twitter in an effort to have him thrown off the platform, despite the social media giant internally admitting — he hadn’t broken any rules to trigger a ban.
“Biden Administration officials asked Twitter to ban me because of my tweets questioning the Covid vaccines,” Berenson wrote on his Substack. “Even as company employees believed I had followed Twitter’s rules, internal Twitter communications reveal.”
The administration wanted him booted because he was the source of several claims they had judged to be “misinformation,” according to Berenson.
This was in April of 2021, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and — as such — the aggressive response of the Biden administration was most likely due to its desire to control information surrounding the outbreak.
“Andrew Slavitt, senior advisor to President Biden’s Covid response team, complained specifically about me, according to a Twitter employee in another Slack conversation discussing the White House meeting.” Berenson wrote. “’They really wanted to know about Alex Berenson,’ the employee wrote. ‘Andy Slavitt suggested they had seen data viz [visualization] that had showed he was the epicenter of disinfo that radiated outwards to the persuadable public.’”
Slavitt previously served as a close ally of the President, and worked with Biden advisor Ron Klain, according to the New York Times.
Berenson had also made sure to emphasize that employees of the Big Tech powerhouse were not convinced he’d broken any regulations or rules for the site, which would have resulted in the termination of his account.
“I’ve taken a pretty close look at his account and I don’t think any of its violative,” wrote one Twitter employee, who was cited in a line from Berenson’s piece.
Yet only four months later, the company banned Berenson in August 2021 anyway — for a tweet the company later admitted was not violative of their misinformation policies. This admission came after Berenson sued Twitter for violating his First Amendment rights. They previously came to a mutual resolution in July 2022.
Whether Berenson’s assertions about the COVID-19 vaccine have merit or not, many won’t even touch these claims. We cannot, however, allow our federal government to influence a platform that — for better or worse — still holds large sway with the public consciousness.
It is the government’s job to protect free speech — not to censor its citizens. That’s a day one lesson in civics class. It might be time to send some big tech honchos back to school to re-learn the basics.