Lee Fang Profile picture
Jan 16 15 tweets 7 min read
1. New piece from the TWITTER FILES.
How the pharmaceutical industry lobbied social media to shape content around vaccine policy.

The push included direct pressure from Pfizer partner BioNTech to censor activists demanding low-cost generic vaccines for low-income countries.
2. In 2020, it was clear that the pandemic would require rapid innovation. Early on, there was a push to make the solution equitable: an international partnership to share ideas, technology, new forms of medicine to rapidly solve this crisis. medicinespatentpool.org/news-publicati…
3. But global drug giants saw the crisis as an opportunity for unprecedented profit. Behind closed doors, pharma launched a massive lobbying blitz to crush any effort to share patents/IP for new covid-related medicine, including therapeutics and vaccines.
4. BIO, the lobby group that represents biopharma, including Moderna & Pfizer, wrote to the newly elected Biden admin, demanding the U.S. gov sanction any country attempting to violate patent rights and create generic low cost covid medicine or vaccines. theintercept.com/2021/03/03/vac…
5. That brings us to Twitter. The global lobbying blitz includes direct pressure on social media. BioNTech, which developed Pfizer's vaccine, reached out to Twitter to request that Twitter directly censor users tweeting at them to ask for generic low cost vaccines. Image
6. Twitter's reps responded quickly to the pharma request, which was also backed by the German government. A lobbyist in Europe asked the content moderation team to monitor the accounts of Pfizer, AstraZeneca & of activist hashtags like #peoplesvaccine Image
7. The potential "fake accounts" that Twitter monitored for protesting Pfizer? These were real people. Here's one the Twitter team flagged for potential terms of use violations. I talked to Terry, a 74 year old retired bricklayer in the UK on the phone.
8. It's not clear what actions Twitter ultimately took on this particular request. Several Twitter employees noted in subsequent messages that none of this activism constituted abuse. But the company continued monitoring tweets.
9. In a separate push, Pfizer & Moderna's lobbying group, BIO, fully funded a special content moderation campaign designed by a contractor called Public Good Projects, which worked w/Twitter to set content moderation rules around covid "misinformation."
10. BIO provided $1,275,000 to the campaign, part of which is revealed through tax forms. The PGP campaign, called "Stronger," helped Twitter create content moderation bots, select which public health accounts got verification, helped crowdsource content takedowns. ImageImage
11. Many of the tweets the BIO-funded campaign focused on were truly unhinged misinfo, like claims that vaccines include microchips. But others Stronger lobbied Twitter on were more of a grey area, like vaccine passports & vaccine mandates, policies that coerce vaccination. ImageImage
12. The Moderna/Pfizer-funded campaign included direct regular emails with lists of tweets to takedown & others to verify. Here's an example of those types of emails that went straight to Twitter's lobbyists and content moderators. Many focused on @zerohedge, which was suspended. Image
13. Notably, this massive push to censor and label covid misinfo never applied to drug companies. When big pharma wildly exaggerated the risks of creating low-cost generic covid vaccines, Stronger did nothing. The rules applied only to critics of industry.
14. Here is my reported piece w/more detail. I was given some access to Twitter emails. I signed/agreed to nothing, Twitter had no input into anything I did or wrote. The searches were carried out by a Twitter attorney, so what I saw could be limited. theintercept.com/2023/01/16/twi…
15. Thanks @davidzweig and @lwoodhouse for help, and look for more Twitter reporting from @mtaibbi, @ShellenbergerMD, @bariweiss/@TheFP and others. You can find me on Substack here leefang.substack.com/p/creating-a-s…

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Lee Fang

Lee Fang Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @lhfang

Dec 20, 2022

*How Twitter Quietly Aided the Pentagon’s Covert Online PsyOp Campaign*

Despite promises to shut down covert state-run propaganda networks, Twitter docs show that the social media giant directly assisted the U.S. military’s influence operations.
2. Twitter has claimed for years that they make concerted efforts to detect & thwart gov-backed platform manipulation. Here is Twitter testifying to Congress about its pledge to rapidly identify and shut down all state-backed covert information operations & deceptive propaganda. Image
3. But behind the scenes, Twitter gave approval & special protection to the U.S. military’s online psychological influence ops. Despite knowledge that Pentagon propaganda accounts used covert identities, Twitter did not suspend many for around 2 years or more. Some remain active.
Read 22 tweets
Oct 31, 2022
Docs show Facebook and Twitter closely collaborating w/ Dept of Homeland Security, FBI to police “disinfo.” Plans to expand censorship on topics like withdrawal from Afghanistan, origins of COVID, info that undermines trust in financial institutions. interc.pt/3Dq6TDB
FBI agent Laura Dehmlow was in communications w Facebook that led to the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story in 2020 over the false allegation that it was “disinfo.” This year, she met w/ Twitter/DHS to stress “we need a media infrastructure that is held accountable.” ImageImage
Facebook and Twitter created special portals for the government to rapidly request takedowns of content. The portals, along with NGO partners used to censor a wide range of content, including obvious parody accounts and content disagreeing w gov pandemic policy. Image
Read 9 tweets
Jun 27, 2022
Private prison CoreCivic touts boardroom diversity and MLK prison murals as its “ESG” racial equity cred. New feature explores this trend generating big fees for BlackRock & fund managers, woke reputations for corporations — but is society benefitting? interc.pt/3ONxAG7
The NAACP branded social responsibility ETF has largely the same top holdings (Amazon, Tesla, JP Morgan) as ordinary index funds.. except the fees are as much as 16x higher. Asked how this fund helps racial justice, the firm pointed to Amazon allowing a union vote in Alabama (??)
Over $35 trillion in funds are marketed as “ESG” socially responsible. Is the push to diversify the boardrooms of pharma, defense contractors, and fossil fuel a benefit to society? Meanwhile, fund manager charge extra fees for every dollar invested.
Read 7 tweets
Feb 17, 2022
Lawsuit reveals that lawyers for the 9/11 victims promised lobbyists a cut of the $$$ they win from foreign assets. New filings show lawyers are already scrambling to grab a slice of the $3.5 billion seized from the Afghan people - while millions starve. theintercept.com/2022/02/16/afg…
Kreindler & Kreindler, one of the law firms that filed yesterday to demand a piece of the $3.5 billion, hired lobbyist firm NVG in December to work on 9/11 litigation issues. NVG's co-founder helped Biden with Asian American outreach during the campaign and is a big Dem donor.
In a message to 9/11 victim clients sent this week, Kreindler & Kreindler promised that there are still many outstanding legal issues surrounding the payout, and they would be "continuing to work with our lobbying team" to influence Biden's Department of Justice.
Read 7 tweets
Feb 16, 2022
This volunteer says he collected over 12,000 signatures for the successful recall of San Francisco’s school board members. The backlash against woke bullshit in schools is a landslide.
The ultra woke school board, every speaker here emphasizes, was *not progressive.* They prioritized shutting down schools, renaming them, categorizing students by race, closing gifted programs — the backlash and the recall, they say, is a revival of progressive politics.
“What’s next? We care about safety” — someone shouts recall the DA and everyone cheers
Read 4 tweets
Nov 6, 2021
Just read this NYT piece on proposed California state education standards that demand that teachers change curriculums to bring racial identity politics into everyday math lessons. So I click the draft standards and the first section cited this CRT paper. nytimes.com/2021/11/04/us/… Image
If you say anything about CRT, you get a gazillion scolds claiming there’s no CRT in schools, nothing inspired by this ideology. When you take literally 2 minutes to look into recent curriculum changes you find it everywhere.
There are so many extreme voices in the CA curriculum. The standards cite Prof. D. B. Martin to claim a colorblind approach to math promotes inequality. If you look up Martin, he believes math education is a project of “violent white supremacy and racial capitalism.”
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Don't want to be a Premium member but still want to support us?

Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal

Or Donate anonymously using crypto!


0xfe58350B80634f60Fa6Dc149a72b4DFbc17D341E copy


3ATGMxNzCUFzxpMCHL5sWSt4DVtS8UqXpi copy

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!