Twitter has restricted the account of Dr. Kelli Ward, chairwoman of the Arizona GOP.
On Tuesday, Ward was temporarily restricted from tweeting on her account after she shared a video of physicians from the controversial group America’s Frontline Doctors pushing back against criticism of the antimalarial drug hydroxychloroquine as a means of fighting the novel coronavirus.
#BIGTECH CENSORSHIP: @Twitter has suspended the account of @AZGOP Chairwoman @kelliwardaz — one week before Arizona’s August 4th Primary — for tweeting a #COVID19 video featuring doctors discussing the benefits of using #Hydroxychloroquine as a prophylaxis. Election interference! pic.twitter.com/j7EclhCxVg
— Arizona Republican Party (@AZGOP) July 28, 2020
In addition to the video, Ward also tweeted about censorship of information when it comes to COVID-19.
“You are ONLY free to hear from & subsequently believe in #BigTech & #FakeNews approved physicians regarding #COVID19. ANY DISSENT (or any thought outside what is approved) will be punished!” she wrote.
ATTENTION SUBJECTS! You are ONLY free to hear from & subsequently believe in #BigTech & #FakeNews approved physicians regarding #COVID19. ANY DISSENT (or any thought outside what is approved) will be punished! https://t.co/FC77QLVuxV
— Dr. Kelli Ward ?? (@kelliwardaz) July 28, 2020
Later in the day, the Republican Party of Arizona released a statement regarding Twitter’s suspension and the censorship of Ward and the doctors’ message.
“Big tech giants have proven time and time again that they care little about our First Amendment rights, and instead value monolithic, manufactured consensus above all else,” Republican Party of Arizona Executive Director Greg Safsten wrote.
“While Democrat politicians and dishonest news journalists wasted three years pushing the debunked Russia collusion narrative, legitimate election interference can be seen right here in America, due to the arbitrary and draconian policies enforced by Silicon Valley.”
Safsten finished by calling out the timing of Twitter’s suspension.
With only a week to go until Arizona’s primary election, Safsten said the suspension of Ward’s account limited her “ability to reach her more than 80,000 Twitter followers,” hindering the Arizona Republican’s “ability to communicate with voters, encourage Arizonans to get out [to] vote.”
Ward’s was not the first account to be restricted.
Earlier on Tuesday, Donald Trump Jr.’s Twitter account was also temporarily restricted for sharing the doctors’ message.
Big Tech is the biggest threat to free expression in America today & they’re continuing to engage in open election interference – full stop. pic.twitter.com/7dJbauq43O
— Andrew Surabian (@Surabees) July 28, 2020
Both Facebook and Twitter have been scrubbing their platforms of anything promoting the physicians’ pro-hydroxychloroquine message.
When The New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose questioned the video’s disappearance from Facebook, Facebook spokesman Andy Stone tweeted it had been removed “for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.”
Yes, we removed it for sharing false information about cures and treatments for COVID-19.
— Andy Stone (@andymstone) July 28, 2020
For over a month, various social media giants have worked to censor coronavirus information they deem to be false.
In a June interview with CNN, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that YouTube would remove any content that contradicted the World Health Organization’s coronavirus guidance, despite the fact that multiple experts have noted the WHO’s pro-China bias may have made greatly impeded the world’s response to the pandemic.
“Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy and so ‘remove’ is another really important part of our policy,” Wojcicki said.
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