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Twitter Files: RFK JR. Previously Censored On Twitter From External Efforts During COVID-19 Pandemic

Journalist Paul D. Thacker Detailed Efforts by British Political Operative And 'Disinformation Researcher' To Censor Kennedy

Journalist Paul D. Thacker detailed external efforts to censor Robert F. Kennedy Jr. during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Thacker, Twitter officials discussed taking action on Kennedy because of a report released by the Center for Countering Digital Hate (CCDH) entitled “The Disinformation Dozen.”

Facebook reportedly dismissed the report citing it “lacked credibility” in a statement discussing “misinformation superspreaders.”

“The report upon which the faulty narrative is based analyzed only a narrow set of 483 pieces of content over six weeks from only 30 groups, some of which are as small as 2,500 users,” read the report per Thacker. “They are in no way representative of the hundreds of millions of posts that people have shared about COVID-19 vaccines in the past months on Facebook.”

“Further, there is no explanation for how the organization behind the report identified the content they described as ‘anti-vax’ or how they chose the 30 groups they included in their analysis,” Facebook’s statement continued. “There is no justification for their claim that their data constitute a ‘representative sample’ of the content shared across our apps.”

Thacker noted the report “took off like a rocket,” garnering attention from Congress and the White House.

Thacker also noted CCDH is run by British political operative Imrah Ahmed.

Ahmed previously wrote The New Serfdom which expressed criticism of free market ideology.

Thacker noted Ahmed also co-authored a 2018 article inforthe Fabian Society discussing the need to “rehabilitate the idea of the state” to “ensure a fair and sustainable future.”

The article further praised the idea of Democratic socialism.

“How did being a Labour Party political operative prepare Ahmed to rebrand himself as an expert in vaccines and disinformation?” Thacker wrote, further questioning if Ahmed and CCDH were influenced by governments or Big Pharma. “I asked. Imran Ahmend won’t respond.”

Thacker shared a screenshot from former Twitter executives discussing actions taken on several accounts discussed by the CCDH report.

“The SI-Misinfo team has carried out a deep dive assessment of these accounts,” reads the email from a former Twitter executive named Brian Clarke. “While none of the 12 accounts are eligible for permanent suspensiuon under COVID-19 Misinformation policy, we did find several violations of the COVID-19 Misinformation policy across multiple accounts.”

The email concludes by noting the executives planned to permanently suspend the account @CancerTruthNews per CCDH’s report, which cites “multiple-account abuse.”

Thacker noted Ahmed and CCDH’s report’s release coincided with President Biden’s vaccine rollout and congressional hearings with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and former CEO of Twitter Jack Dorsey.

A series of tweets were flagged for violating Twitter’s Misinformation policy including one tweet from Kennedy.

Labels on the tweets in question were removed following Elon Musk’s October 2022 acquisition of the company.

Thacker noted a post featuring Kennedy’s letter to President Biden has been labeled under “Vaccine Safety” per Twitter.

“What is wrong with sending the President a letter?” Thacker asked. “How does this violate safety? It’s just odd.”

In 2020, CCDH reportedly ran a campaign targeting 10 websites for allegedly posting “racist narratives” including Zero Hedge.

NBC News reported on the campaign in an article titled “Google bans two websites from its ad platform over protest articles” which stated ZeroHedge and The Federalist pushed “unsubstantiated claims about the Black Lives Matter protests.”

According to Thacker, Ahmed took passages from the comments section and claimed they were articles to which NBC stealth edited their article to read, “Google bans website ZeroHedge from its ad platform over comments on protest articles.”

Thacker noted University of Indiana disinformation researcher Filippo Menczer’s federally funded research was referred to as “Orwellian” by a member of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

Menczer was involved in the Obama administration’s 2014 social media campaign named “Truthy” which data-mined on behalf of the net-neutrality argument at the time.

The University of Indiana rebutted the claim suggesting Menczer’s research was not “attempting to track political misinformation in a way that would somehow limit free speech.”

“An award-winning National Science Foundation-funded research project left by four faculty members at the Indiana University School of Informatics and Computing has come under criticism for allegedly attempting to track political misinformation in a way that would somehow limit free speech,” the University wrote. “These claims could not be further from the truth.”

Menczer later claimed criticism of him confirmed the problem of misinformation in a statement to the Columbia Journalism Review.

“The headlines are saying something that is completely false and fabricated,” Menczer said. “We are not defining hate speech. We are not tracking people. We do not have a database.”

“Most disinformation [researchers] claim any criticism is ‘disinformation’),” Thacker wrote. “Fast forward several years and what is Menczer doing? SURPRISE!!!! Defining types of speech as misinformation, tracking people’s social media, and creating an online database.”

Thacker shared a December 2021 email from Menczer to misinformation group “Combatting Fake News: The Science of Misinformation” discussing Kennedy and “his anti-vaccine group” Children’s Health Defense (CHD). He further claimed Kennedy was capitalizing on the pandemic to raise money and gain followers.

“Our CoVaxxy dashboard … quoted in the article, ranks CHD as the top source of COVID vaccine disinformation,” reads Menczer’s email. “Its articles are often shared on Twitter more than those from the CDC, WHO, and mainstream news sources.”

“This indicates that a growing number of Americans and citizens of the world are saying no to their government imposing health mandates, recommendations and other personal choices on them and their children that is clearly in violation of their individual rights,” reads the article in question from Children’s Health Defense.

Menczer claimed Kennedy used his data in a “misleading way.”

Menczer’s email reportedly made its way to Twitter executives.

Thacker claimed Menczer makes his research appear “abstract and nebulous.”

Menczer detailed a $1.2 million grant from the Department of Defense (DOH) stating his group “[hopes] to develop a cognitive network model that describes the consistencies and inconsistencies of a belief system while also establishing the simulation mechanisms that determine how a given idea is best accepted and incorporated by an agent to fit into preexisting beliefs.”

“What does that mean?” Thacker asked of Menczer’s description.

Thacker also noted Menczer is “more direct” in highlighting his research regarding the regulation of speech.

“I think this is what his research is really about,” Thacker concluded.

Twitter owner Elon Musk replied to the thread by asking, “Who is funding [CCDH]? They spread disinformation and push censorship, while claiming the opposite. Truly evil.”

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