Doctor Censored on Twitter After COVID Lockdown Warnings Says ‘Unspecified Agents’ Behind Blacklisting

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A Stanford University professor who was reportedly placed on a Twitter “blacklist” after issuing warnings about COVID-19-related lockdowns said Thursday that “unspecified agents” requested that he be censored.

Dr. Jay Bhattacharya, a professor of medicine at the prestigious private research university, told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that he only joined Twitter in August 2021 to share his view that lockdowns and school closures wouldn’t work.

“I was put on a trend blacklist the moment I joined,” Bhattacharya told Carlson on Thursday night, referring to internal files that were released to journalists by new Twitter chief executive Elon Musk. “What that means is that I write a tweet, my followers see the tweet, but the trend blacklist makes sure that people outside of my followers don’t see the tweet.”

Last week, journalist Bari Weiss published screenshots of internal Twitter communications that revealed that some users, according to her, were placed on a “trends blacklist” and “search blacklist.” Among those put on a blacklist was Bhattacharya because he wrote children would be negatively impacted by COVID-19-related lockdowns and school closures, she wrote.

Bhattacharya, notably, is one of the three co-authors of the Great Barrington Declaration, which has nearly 1 million signatures from scientists and doctors from around the world. “Current lockdown policies,” they wrote, “are producing devastating effects on short and long-term public health.”

“The results (to name a few) include lower childhood vaccination rates, worsening cardiovascular disease outcomes, fewer cancer screenings and deteriorating mental health–leading to greater excess mortality in years to come, with the working class and younger members of society carrying the heaviest burden,” the declaration continued. “Keeping students out of school is a grave injustice.”

In his interview with Carlson, Bhattacharya revealed that it was only until several days ago that he was removed from the blacklist, coming weeks after Musk purchased Twitter for $44 billion. The doctor was invited by Musk to Twitter’s headquarters, where they discussed censorship, he said.

“Unspecified agents” requested that Bhattacharya be blacklisted on Twitter, he told Carlson. However, it’s not clear if those individuals worked at Twitter or outside the firm.

“It was a policy designed to make sure the American public did not hear that there were other alternative scientific views than just lockdown, lockdown, lockdown,” the Stanford professor stated. Further, Bhattacharya asserts that he believes the federal government wanted to promote an “illusion of consensus” about lockdowns when there was actually “robust” debate taking place among some members of the scientific community

The government “wanted to fool people into thinking that we were following the science,” he added, arguing that the Twitter blacklist violated his First Amendment rights.

“People suffered as a consequence of this censorship,” Bhattacharya concluded. “I believe that had that honest debate taken place, none of those policies would have been put in place and all of that suffering could have been avoided.”

Previous Twitter managers, including former head of trust and safety Yoel Roth, have not commented on Weiss’s reporting about the firm’s blacklists.

In an article describing his visit to Twitter’s headquarters, Bhattacharya said that when he first joined in August of last year, “apparently Twitter received a number of unspecified complaints about me. It’s not clear, from my time at Twitter headquarters, exactly from who.”

“Their systems are not set up to answer that question very easily, although apparently people are looking into that,” he wrote. “And that then induced Twitter to put me on this trends blacklist to make sure that my tweets didn’t reach a broad audience outside of my own network … it took somebody at Twitter—a human at Twitter had to think about it. The setting was then renewed repeatedly through 2021 and 2022.”

The Epoch Times has reached out to Bhattacharya for additional comment.

Jack Phillips

Jack Phillips is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in New York. He covers breaking news.

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