A vaccine skeptic who won a legal battle with Twitter over his suspension has been given access to documents about the Big Tech company’s content moderation and censorship practices by its new owner, Elon Musk.
Alex Berenson, an independent journalist and controversial critic of the public health establishment, is releasing the next edition of what Musk and his allies have dubbed the Twitter Files, a series of internal documents that detailed the company’s past dealings and business efforts.
Berenson has criticized the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines and the government and academic response to the pandemic, making him popular among vaccine skeptics and some conservatives. Berenson was banned from Twitter but successfully sued to have his account reinstated under allegations that the ban occurred due to pressure from the White House.
“Guess who’s coming to dinner? The first meal is already plated. And it’s delicious…” Berenson tweeted Friday alongside an image teasing details about Twitter’s approach to handling COVID-19 misinformation.
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He followed the tease with a post on his Substack, saying he headed to San Francisco for his “first peek” at the files at the invite of Musk to look over “Covid-related documents.”
“Beyond that, I agreed to no conditions on how I will use the information from the files. I can write what I like and do not have to preclear anything with Musk or anyone else. I will redact the names of low-level Twitter employees who were not in decision-making roles – I agreed to this condition in my lawsuit discovery too.”
Berenson sued Twitter in Dec. 2021 over its decision to suspend his account in August 2021 after it was mentioned directly by White House officials. He was reinstated by Twitter in July 2022 as part of a settlement between the two parties. While other conservatives have sued Twitter over being banned, Berenson’s claim was unique due to the pressure by government officials to remove his account.
Previous versions of the Twitter Files noted how both the Trump Administration and Biden Administration made efforts to quell COVID-19 misinformation, including communications with Twitter. They also detailed communications between the FBI and Twitter regarding foreign threats, the company’s handling of Hunter Biden’s laptop, and the decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the platform.