Pfizer board member made Twitter censor tweets critical of its Covid-19 vaccine

On Tuesday (January 10), a new tranche of ‘Twitter Files’ was released which exposed how a board member of pharmaceutical company Pfizer, Dr Scott Gottlieb, influenced the content moderation decision of the social media giant. The revelations were made by reporter and writer Alex Berenson.

On August 27, 2021, Gottlieb flagged a tweet by American paediatrician Dr Brett Giroir, questioning the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine, and asked, “This is the kind of stuff that’s corrosive. Here he draws a sweeping conclusion off a single retrospective study in Israel that hasn’t been peer-reviewed.”

“But this tweet will end up going viral and driving news coverage,” he had said in an email to Todd O’Boyle who was the senior public policy manager of Twitter at that time.

Dr Brett Giroir had served as the Head of the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), a post held earlier by Dr Scott Gottlieb. The latter realised that the tweet by the former could hurt the sales of Pfizer.

Screengrab of the email transcript by Scott Gottlieb

“It’s now clear COVID-19 natural immunity is superior to vaccine immunity, by ALOT. There’s no science justification for #vax proof if a person had prior infection. CDC Director, POTUS must follow the science. If no previous infection? Get vaccinated!” Dr Giroir had tweeted then.

According to Alex Berenson, the tweet by the American paediatrician was indeed correct as natural immunity following Covid-19 infection was more potent than vaccine-induced immunity.

“…The tweet actually encouraged people who did not have a natural immunity to Get vaccinated!” he emphasised. Berenson pointed out that the senior public policy manager of Twitter, Todd O’ Boyle, forwarded the mail of Dr Scott Gottlieb to the ‘Strategic Response’ team of Twitter.

Accordingly, O’ Boyle flagged the tweet by Dr Brett Giroir to the team without mentioning that Gottlieb had a financial interest in getting the tweet purged (given that he was a Pfizer Board member).

Interestingly, the Twitter team did not find a violation of any of its rules. “Yet Twitter wound up flagging Giroir’s tweet anyway, putting a misleading tag on it and preventing almost anyone from seeing it,” noted Alex Berenson.

He continued, “It remains tagged even though several large studies have confirmed the truth of Giroir’s words.” In September 2021, Gottlieb also tried to censor a vaccine sceptic named Justin Hurt who raised questions about the idea of vaccinating children (despite zero mortality rate).

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but a viral pathogen with a child mortality rate of ~0% has cost our children nearly three years of schooling,” Hart has tweeted.

At that time, Pfizer was working behind the scenes to get its vaccine approved for children between ages 5-11. Scepticism about the vaccine among the parents of the children had the potential to cost the pharmaceutical company millions of dollars.

When Gottlieb reached out to O’ Boyle again, the latter forwarded it to the Strategic Response team. “This time, though, Gottlieb’s complaint was so far afield that Twitter refused to act,” observed Alex Berenson.

Interestingly, the Pfizer Board member was seen mouthing platitudes about the need for ‘respectful debate and dialogue’ in October last year although he tried to censor American paediatrician Dr Brett Giroir’s tweet about natural immunity.

This was despite the fact that Giroir did not engage either in misleading dialogue or targeted harassment. “Gottlieb is not just a Pfizer board member,” Alex Berenson wrote.

“He is one of seven members of the board’s executive committee and the head of its regulatory and compliance committee, which oversees “compliance with laws, regulations, and internal procedures applicable to pharmaceutical sales and marketing activities,” he added.

“Pfizer has a long history of violating drug industry laws and ethics rules. In 2009, it agreed to pay $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in American history, for fraudulently marketing several drugs,” Berenson further added.

“In 1996, it conducted a clinical trial of an antibiotic in Nigeria in which 11 children died and which became the inspiration for John le Carre’s novel The Constant Gardner,” the writer concluded.

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