On Feb. 8, a U.S. congresswoman claimed that she had been left injured by a COVID-19 vaccine.
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) spoke during a hearing with former Twitter executives, while condemning Twitter’s actions in censoring posts from medical experts, including Dr. Jay Bhattacharya and Martin Kulldorff.
“I, along with many Americans, have long-term effects from COVID. Not only was I a long hauler, but I have effects from the vaccine. It wasn’t the first shot but it was the second shot that I now developed asthma that has never gone away,” Mace said in Washington. “I have tremors in my left hand, and I have the occasional heart pain that no doctor can explain—and I’ve had a battery of tests.”
Some reports have indicated that asthma can be induced or worsened by COVID-19 vaccination, while neurological issues and heart problems have been repeatedly linked to the shot.
Mace expressed her concern with Twitter’s tendency to limit or hide posts, such as one from Kulldorff which said that people at high risk from COVID-19 should get vaccinated but that people who had infection-induced immunity and children didn’t need a shot.
“I have great regrets about getting the shot because of the health issues that I now have, that I don’t think are ever going to go away,” Mace said. “And I know that I’m not the only American who has those kinds of concerns.”
Mace asked Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s former executive for legal, public policy, and trust and safety, if she had been to medical school, to which she said no. Mace followed up by asking why she, and other Twitter officials believed they had the expertise to censor opinions from medical experts.
“Our policies regarding COVID were designed to protect individuals,” Gadde said.
“You guys censored Harvard-educated doctors, Stanford-educated doctors, doctors that are educated in the best places in the world, and you silenced those voices,” Mace said.
Internal documents, now known as the Twitter files, were made public by journalists who were allowed to view internal information provided by CEO Elon Musk. They revealed that the company under its previous management took action against Bhattacharya, Kulldorff, and others, over alleged misinformation, COVID-related or otherwise.
One email, for instance, stated that Kulldorff was spreading “false information regarding the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines, which goes against CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidelines,” and officials ultimately labeled the post “misleading.”
Other documents have shown the White House and government agencies were in close contact with Twitter and other Big Tech companies regarding taking down posts and suspending or banning users. Mace asked whether the U.S. government ever pressured Twitter to moderate or censor posts.
“We have a program,” Gadde said. “We received legal demands to remove content from the platform from the U.S. government and governments all around the world.”
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-WI) later questioned why Twitter took action against prominent doctors and radio hosts in his state, because they offered information that contradicted guidance from U.S. agencies such as the CDC.
“Could you comment on why you would take somebody off a platform, or why a distinguished doctor would be considered something that the public as a whole couldn’t hear their version of events?” Grothman asked, and none of the former executives answered.
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