Lee Fang Profile picture
Jan 16, 2023 15 tweets 7 min read Read on X
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

Apr 11
U.S. foreign aid money is flowing into Ukraine to fund a network of anti-disinfo watchdogs and journalists, who are helping the government demonize opponents, pass censorship laws, and smear pro-peace Americans as Russian agents. New investigation🧵 Image
USAID funded Ukrainian media are helping Facebook remove alleged Russian disinfo content. The same groups, without evidence, claim Americans favoring a diplomatic solution to the conflict — Jeffrey Sachs, John Mearsheimer, Glenn Greenwald, etc — are Russian propaganda agents Image
USAID and NED, which spun off from the CIA, openly touts investments in Ukraine media w/ helping fuel the pro-NATO revolt in Ukraine in 2014 & w/ helping win the current information war against Russia today. Yet the “independent” media the US funds is highly political. Image
Read 9 tweets
Jan 26
DHS official Brian Murphy was in the news for building dossiers of critical journalists. Now he’s helping British AI firm Logically into the U.S. to identify “problematic” 2024 election narratives to scrub social media. I have a new investigation into the censorship firm: Image
Logically AI scans social media for “misinfo” like many orgs. Unlike others, they partner w/ Meta, anything they flag is automatically shadowbanned or factchecked. They operate a news-style website and are testing generative AI for bots that attack alleged misinfo posts.
In the UK, the British gov gave contracts to Logicially to fight pandemic disinfo. Instead, the group flagged academics & activists who criticized vaccine passports, lockdowns, other forms of policy dissent. Logically said the lab leak theory was a dangerous “conspiracy theory.”
Read 6 tweets
Oct 25, 2023
I talked previously to several lawmakers in Congress who explained that devotion to Israel -- including U.S. weapons and money -- is part of their religious belief, grounded in the Bible. This dynamic separates Israel-Palestine from a lot of other geopolitical concerns.
Also interviewed Robert Jeffress, the megachurch pastor who gave the official opening prayer moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. He advises American politicians, says support for Israel is critical for bringing an end times final war, Jesus returning to slay non-believers.
Note Jeffress forced me to wear a mask to go backstage with him. Not my choice. These are clips from Praying for Armageddon, a new film that looks at the role of Christian Zionism in shaping U.S. policy towards the Israel-Palestine conflict. prayingforarmageddon.com
Read 4 tweets
Sep 21, 2023
Ibram Kendi’s anti-racist institute at Boston University promised scholarship and data, but produced virtually nothing. Now they’re laying everyone off.

“It’s pretty hard for me to imagine they blew through $30 million in 2 years,” said one scholar.
Kendi’s contribution to the discourse is the toxic and poorly argued idea, articulated in “How to be an Antiracist,” that *every* racial disparity is inherently the byproduct of racism. He just laid off his black workforce, doesn’t that make him a racist, given the disparity?
The entire article is incredible. Kendi promised a book fair, then gave up. Promised scholarship, nothing appeared. Promised data projects, then the only one that launched, a COVID tracker, went defunct in March 2021. How do you raise that much and produce so little?
Read 4 tweets
Sep 8, 2023
1. TWITTER FILES - Saudi Arabia

Twitter Minimized Saudi Spy Infiltration, New Emails Show
Exclusive emails show Twitter executives downplayed the significance of a Saudi spy network operating within the company, an infiltration that allegedly led to the torture of dissidents.
2. After the Arab Spring brought unprecedented protest and public criticism of the Saudi Kingdom, the gov began a crackdown on social media.

The effort focused on Twitter, which is hugely popular in Saudi Arabia. SMAAT, a social media PR firm, helped bribe Twitter employees.
3. Ahmad Abouammo, a Twitter employee, accepted $300k in cash & a $40k luxury watch from Saudi agents. In exchange, he illicitly used Twitter's backend system to unmask anon accounts critical of Saudi's ruler, Mohammed bin Salman. Abouammo, records show, accessed 6,000 accounts.
Read 15 tweets
Jun 27, 2023
New court filings show Del. Stacey Plaskett, D-VI, one the most popular Democrats on MSNBC, not only lied about her years-long fundraising from Jeffrey Epstein… she also literally worked for Epstein’s shadowy tax and political influence fixer before entering public office.
Plaskett's LinkedIn shows a two-year gap before entering Congress, from 2013-2014. Those years, Plaskett worked for Erika Kellerhals, Epstein's tax attorney and adviser who helped steer tax credits, political influence, and charitable donations for the powerful pedophile.
Earlier this month, Plaskett told local VI radio that she was "unaware" of Epstein's donations to her campaigns. In reality, after Kellerhals introduced her to Epstein, Plaskett continually solicited him for money for her campaign and for the DCCC.
Read 6 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!