State Department Pursued Censorship of Twitter Accounts Supporting Lab Leak Theory for COVID

A relatively unknown branch of the U.S. State Department repeatedly requested the banning of numerous accounts on Twitter that voiced any support for the “lab leak” theory regarding the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Daily Caller reports that the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) repeatedly emailed Twitter employees with requests to ban accounts that they flagged for “misinformation. As revealed in the latest installment of the Twitter Files, posted by journalist Matt Taibbi, the GEC wrote a report in February of 2020 titled “Russian Disinformation Apparatus Taking Advantage of Coronavirus Concerns.”

The report outlined several criteria which the GEC claimed was proof of accounts spreading “misinformation,” including blaming the pandemic on “research conducted at the Wuhan institute.” Other criteria, according to the GEC report, included “describing the Coronavirus as an engineered bioweapon,” or “attributing the appearance of the virus to the CIA.”

However, not all of the GEC’s efforts to force Twitter into following its demands were successful. At one point, the GEC wanted to publish a list of over 5,500 Twitter accounts that it considered to be promoting “Chinese propaganda and disinformation;” when Twitter employees heard of this plan, they were reportedly “beside themselves” with anger, according to Taibbi. Twitter employees allegedly did not want for the GEC to “insert themselves” into Twitter’s already ongoing collusion with other government agencies.

One of the GEC’s tactics, besides demanding Twitter ban certain accounts, was to go directly to the press with its “findings,” which led to such outlets as Politico and Agence France-Presse (AFP) writing stories that highlighted GEC’s criteria for what constituted “foreign disinformation” campaigns about COVID.

The twelfth installment of the Twitter Files was posted on Tuesday, almost immediately after the eleventh installment, which focused on Congressman Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) efforts to force Twitter to ban accounts he did not like. The two threads are the latest in the ongoing series of revelations regarding Twitter’s censorship efforts, which new owner Elon Musk promised to expose after he successfully purchased the company for $44 billion last October.

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About Eric Lendrum

Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.

Photo: INDIA - 2022/08/01: In this photo illustration, a Twitter logo is displayed on a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Avishek Das/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)