Twitter Monday suspended a user who posted an irreverent tweet mocking Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. Bourla had just announced he had tested positive for COVID-19 despite having been injected four times.
“I would like to let you know that I have tested positive for #COVID19,” tweeted Bourla. “I am thankful to have received four doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, and I am feeling well while experiencing very mild symptoms. I am isolating and have started a course of Paxlovid.”
Many were quick to point out the contrast with Bourla’s tweet on April 1, 2021, which said Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective against the spread of COVID-19.
“Excited to share that updated analysis from our Phase 3 study with BioNTech also showed that our COVID-19 vaccine was 100% effective in preventing #COVID19 cases in South Africa. 100%!” boasted the pharma mogul.
Netizen Matt Brown then crafted a tweet rewording Bourla’s Monday post derisively but accurately.
“1) My company created a vaccine, promoted its 95% efficacy with two doses, and got it mandated for many people,” Brown wrote. “2) I received four doses of my company’s vaccine. 3) I got the virus my company’s vaccine was purported to prevent anyway. 4) I am grateful for my company’s vaccine.”
Within 12 hours, Twitter suspended Brown’s account due to “false or misleading information about Covid-19,” to be reinstated if he deletes the tweet. Brown has appealed the social media giant’s decision but has not received a response.
“I refuse to delete it because there is nothing false or misleading in it,” Brown affirmed defiantly in a post about the suspension, adding that not one of the statements in the tweet "is even debatable. But because it was stated in a mildly mocking manner, it was apparently deemed ‘misinformation.’ And so I sit in purgatory pending appeal.”
“I almost see this as a badge of honor, that Twitter thought me significant enough to do this,” he continued. “At any rate, I will not admit wrongdoing I didn't commit and I will not delete the tweet. They can do it if they choose. In the meantime, I have a family I can spend time with and work I can do and fresh air I can get. In other words, I have enough of a real life so this doesn't truly matter very much to me.”
Famed journalist Alex Berenson, who successfully forced Twitter to reinstate him after being suspended for a similar offense, called out the tech company.
“Hey @twitter: what’s wrong with this Tweet about @AlbertBourla, aka The World’s (Former) Favorite Veterinarian? It is completely factually accurate - every word - and yet you suspended the poster for it. Do your terms of service mean anything?” Berenson tweeted.