White House coronavirus adviser Dr. Scott Atlas Photo: AP
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Twitter blocks tweet from Trump adviser downplaying masks

28 Comments
By CATHY BUSSEWITZ

Twitter blocked a post Sunday from an adviser to President Donald Trump who suggested that masks do not work to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Scott Atlas, who joined the White House in August as a science adviser, had tweeted “Masks work? NO,” and said widespread use of masks is not supported.

The tweet violated a Twitter policy that prohibits sharing false or misleading misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to harm, a company spokesperson said. The policy bans statements that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by experts such as public health authorities.

In such cases, Twitter disables the account until its owner deletes the post in question.

Trump has downplayed the importance of masks in reducing the spread of the virus, even after he contracted the disease, which has killed more than 215,000 Americans.

“I don’t understand why the tweets were deleted,” Atlas said in an email, calling Twitter's actions censorship. He said his tweet was intended to show that "general population masks and mask mandates do not work," and he clarified that the correct policy is to use masks when one cannot socially distance. Atlas added that infections exploded even with mandates in Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County, Hawaii, Alabama, the Philippines, Japan and other places.

Researchers have concluded that masks can control the spread of the virus, and public health experts have urged the public to wear them. But Trump and his team often go without masks while campaigning.

Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, has no expertise in public health or infectious diseases. He has criticized the coronavirus lockdowns and campaigned for children to return to classrooms. Some scientists view Atlas as promoting dangerous theories around “herd immunity.”

Last week, Twitter and Facebook moved quickly to limit the spread of an unverified political story published by the conservative-leaning New York Post. The story cited unverified emails from Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden's son, and it has not been confirmed by other publications. There have been no new tweets from the Post since Oct 14, indicating Twitter may still be blocking the newspaper's tweets.

© Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

28 Comments

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Wow!

Only 1 opinion allowed on Twitter.

Zero debate or dissent permitted.

-10 ( +4 / -14 )

The policy bans statements that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by experts such as public health authorities.

That's commonsensical. With the exception of countries like China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia ('partially' of course), the alt right, 'foreign' troll armies and their useful idjits still have numerous other places on the Internet they can turn to to warn each other about alien reptiles, the deep state and something they call 'the media'.

Freedom of speech is something for governments with bits of democracy remaining to ensure, not private businesses. As the ka-piddle-ists claim, let the markets decide.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

> Wow!

Only 1 opinion allowed on Twitter.

Zero debate or dissent permitted.

Twitter is a private company and can limit what it is used for all it wants. Of course, conservatives won’t hesitate to manufacture outrage and play the victim card.

What is that old saying about the free market? Don’t like the product, take your money elsewhere.

6 ( +10 / -4 )

A doctor making bogus allegations advising Trump,should be booted out of the Whitehouse immediately

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

Atlas, the former chief of neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center and a fellow at Stanford’s conservative Hoover Institution, has no expertise in public health or infectious diseases. 

Says it all. Also bears repeating that in September Atlas was scathingly denounced by his former colleagues and professionals at Stanford Medical School.

Not an anonymous tip off mind you, oh no, a detailed document signed by 105 Stanford professionals accusing Atlas of “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science.”

So, I’d take anything this man says with a pinch of salt.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

The fewer stupid people on Twitter, the better.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

A recommendation letter from just one Doctor is enough for a Nobel nomination.

What does a damning letter from 105 Doctors get you? Oh yeah, a position in the current White House circus.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Bob Fosse:

in September Atlas was scathingly denounced by his former colleagues and professionals at Stanford Medical School. Not an anonymous tip off mind you, oh no, a detailed document signed by 105 Stanford professionals accusing Atlas of “falsehoods and misrepresentations of science.”

Thanks for the background, Bob. I was going to look the guy up, but you saved me the trouble.

Can't say I'm surprised.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Yrral:

A doctor making bogus allegations advising Trump, should be booted out of the Whitehouse immediately"

You're absolutely correct, but unfortunately the reality in today's WH is that the ability to make bogus claims with a straight face is a guarantee of employment, rather than an impediment to it.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Scott Atlas, who joined the White House in August as a science adviser, had tweeted “Masks work? NO,” and said widespread use of masks is not supported.

As Atlas later explained, masks offer no protection from the electromagnetic waves that emanate from 5G network towers built in China...which is what really causes the virus...

Atlas recommends wrapping your head completely in tin foil as the best protection...

Atlas, who has a science degree from Trump University, also stated that Dr Fauci and Dr Brix cannot be trusted because they are in fact Alien reptiles...

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Scott Atlas, who joined the White House in August as a science adviser, had tweeted “Masks work? NO,” and said widespread use of masks is not supported.

All these people behind trump, feeding him and feeding off him should face prosecution!!!

Their views have resulted in hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and it would be criminally negligent to let them go scot free once trump is kicked out.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

So Twit becomes the story again, censoring content that doesn&t match Twitter's political agenda. This is getting scary. If companies like Twitter want to be seen as publishers, with responsibility for content, they can do so at their peril.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

So what exactly does work/help according to Trumps twit?

4 ( +4 / -0 )

In Canada, you must wear a mask outside your home yet the numbers there have been exploding again. Why?

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

The guy is 100% right.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

As P. Smith correctly noted, Twitter (cancer on the body public though it is) is a private company and can limit anything it wants.

Further more the good “doctor” is “factually inaccurate.” Every qualified public health professional and epidemiologist, of which he is neither, says that masks are an effective means of spreading transmission when social distancing is not possible.

Twitter is about 5 years late to the party, but better late than never.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

In Canada, you must wear a mask outside your home yet the numbers there have been exploding again. Why?

Hummmm, let me see...

Active cases in the US - nearly 2,700,000

Active cases in Canada - less than 21,000

Yep, seems they are doing better than the US, probably masks...

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Atlas is almost as kooky as Trump is. It’s time to take their hands off the steering wheel.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

A TV celeb needs a TV worthy Greek Chorus apparently. The best hair and biggest mouth wins over knowledge and experience.

If Atlas wore a blonde wig he could probably be press secretary when this gig is over.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Also significant that Atlas worked with the American Institute for Economic Research on sponsoring the Barrington Declaration, the political rather than scientific attempt to pump some life into the otherwise discredited herd immunity theory.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

This is getting scary

Scary for those who try to spread nonsense as fact on one of the most powerful media options perhaps. Twitter has influence sure, why else would trump use it 20 times a day as his main voice?

If you have something to say, sure say it, nobody is stopping you. If your message is that important it’ll filter through somewhere.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

If companies like Twitter want to be seen as publishers, with responsibility for content, they can do so at their peril.

tiktok watch out!

lol

2 ( +2 / -0 )

@Seapig,

Lense dense. America a much more free country. Mask forever or a fever?

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

The tweet violated a Twitter policy that prohibits sharing false or misleading misinformation about COVID-19 that could lead to harm,

So Twitter is now the arbiter of what what is "false" and not false, and we can and not see. Truly scary and an clear violation of section 230 that Twitter operates under.

It is high time time to remove section 230 protection for Twitter and the other Big Tech media. If they want to act as publishers, they should acknowledge that they are publishers.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

P. Smith

Twitter is a private company and can limit what it is used for all it wants.

If it is publisher, yes. But under section 230 they have special privileges, which they violate by their political censorship. It is high time this is stopped.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

It is high time time to remove section 230 protection for Twitter and the other Big Tech media. If they want to act as publishers, they should acknowledge that they are publishers.

Absolute BS. They have the same protection and terms of service as your local coffee shop.

Try it. Go stand on a table in your local Starbucks and shout about your right to speak.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So Twitter is now the arbiter of what what is "false" and not false, and we can and not see.

Only if you’re ignorant enough to get your facts from Twitter.

Truly scary and an clear violation of section 230 that Twitter operates under.*

From which law school did you graduate?

It is high time time to remove section 230 protection for Twitter and the other Big Tech media. If they want to act as publishers, they should acknowledge that they are publishers.

Another sensitive conservative angry because they don’t have their own social media platform.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If it is publisher, yes. But under section 230 they have special privileges, which they violate by their political censorship. It is high time this is stopped.

You cannot violate a privilege. You can elect not to use that privilege, but you cannot violate it.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

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