Vaccine manufacturer pressured Twitter to censor content about generic vaccines
January 19, 2023
A major vaccine manufacturer pressured Twitter to censor tweets from people demanding cheaper generic pharmaceuticals instead of expensive branded ones, a new “Twitter Files” dump showed this week.
The revelation came from journalist Lee Fang, who wrote on Twitter that German pharmaceutical corporation BioNTech—the manufacturer of one of the numerous COVID vaccines currently in circulation—put “direct pressure” on Twitter ‘to censor activists demanding low-cost generic vaccines for low-income countries.”
1. New piece from the TWITTER FILES.
How the pharmaceutical industry lobbied social media to shape content around vaccine policy.
The push included direct pressure from Pfizer partner BioNTech to censor activists demanding low-cost generic vaccines for low-income countries.
— Lee Fang (@lhfang) January 16, 2023
BionNTech in December of 2020 “reached out to Twitter to request that Twitter directly censor users tweeting at them to ask for generic low cost vaccines,” Fang said, citing emails between the two companies.
Twitter “responded quickly to the pharma request,” Fang noted, though ultimately it’s “not clear what actions Twitter ultimately took on this particular request.”