Twitter has suspended the account of a COVID-19 vaccine sceptic group known as the Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN), as the latter claimed it had obtained thousands of new emails from the US president's chief medical adviser, Anthony Fauci. The social media platform also labelled the post “disinformation”.
“The Informed Consent Action Network (ICAN) is dropping 3,000 new pages of FOIA’d Fauci emails TODAY, providing further insight into Anthony Fauci’s actions on Covid, vaccine safety and more”, the group announced in the now-deleted tweet, which was shared by American journalist Michelle Malkin.
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) June 3, 2021
A screenshot shows that Twitter considered the post misleading and that it was spreading “harmful” COVID-19 information. Meanwhile, the platform did not specify what particular aspect of the message was misleading.
At the same time, ICAN’s creative director, Patrick Layton, stated in a Twitter post that the letters had been obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, which is a federal law that requires the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the US government upon request.
— Patrick Layton (@patrick_layton) June 3, 2021
Previously, BuzzFeed News published more than 3,200 pages of Fauci's emails dating back to the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic that showed how the chief medical adviser had dealt with the massive flow of information as the COVID-19 pandemic was hitting the United States. The report suggested that Fauci knew the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China was carrying out so-called “gain-of-function” research, although he previously claimed the opposite. According to the letters, obtained by the media outlet, Fauci received at least one warning from an immunologist that some of the virus’ features could have been “engineered".
So-called “gain-of-function” research involves manipulating pathogens, often to make them more lethal, with the aim of studying how viruses behave and how they might become resistant to vaccines.