Twitter removed a tweet from White House coronavirus adviser Scott Atlas on Sunday in which he said that masks don’t work.
The tweet, captured in screenshots, was flagged for violating Twitter’s policy against spreading misleading information and is no longer visible to users. It linked to an online post published by the American Institute for Economic Research critical of coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions such as wearing masks.
Atlas’s role as an adviser was announced in August and was met with backlash from the medical community, given that as a radiologist, he had no training in epidemiology or infectious disease, and public health experts feared that Atlas would replace Dr. Anthony Fauci on the coronavirus task force.
Atlas told the Federalist on Sunday that he was also banned from tweeting until he deleted the tweet that violated Twitter’s policy.
Atlas’s Twitter account can still be viewed, but no posts have been made since Saturday. The tweet that was removed for violating Twitter’s misinformation policy has not been deleted as of Sunday morning.
According to an update to Twitter’s policy in May, tweets can be subject to removal for “severe” misleading information. Twitter says that misleading information includes “statements or assertions that have been confirmed to be false or misleading by subject-matter experts, such as public health authorities.”
A spokesperson from Twitter told the Washington Examiner that the tweet was removed Sunday morning “for violating our Covid Misinformation Policy.” The spokesperson added that “the claims that masks do not work contradicts WHO guidelines around masks and how wearing masks can ‘suppress transmission and save lives.'”
The World Health Organization has advised that broad mask use is an effective means of reducing coronavirus transmission and updated its policy to add that “masks should be used as part of a comprehensive ‘Do it all!’ approach, including physical distancing, avoiding crowded, closed and close-contact settings, improving ventilation, cleaning hands, covering sneezes and coughs, and more.”
Twitter did not confirm whether Atlas was unable to tweet until the blocked content was deleted.
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