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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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International

Twitter Files: BioNTech wanted COVID posts censored

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Ryan Robertson

Anchor, Investigative Reporter

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The Biden administration is not the world’s only government that asked Twitter to censor posts related to COVID-19. According to the latest Twitter Files, Germany did too, in collaboration with BioNTech, one of the pharmaceutical giants behind the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

This week, the Intercept’s Lee Fang reported the latest findings from the Twitter Files. Fang focused on the email communications of Nina Morschhaeuser, a Twitter lobbyist in Europe.

Fang reports in December of 2020, Morschhaeuser said BioNTech and the German government warned her about an impending online campaign to target pharmaceutical companies developing COVID-19 vaccines. A spokesperson with BioNTech asked Twitter to hide the accounts of certain activists for two days, to coincide with the launch of the impending campaign.

Morschhaeuser said the authorities were worried about a flood of comments that could violate Twitter’s terms of service, and that the personal accounts of vaccine manufacturer employees could be taken over. Fang reports it is unclear what, if any, action Twitter took regarding BioNTech’s request.

Fang did report why the company made the request, however. Fang said the pharmaceutical company didn’t want to share proprietary knowledge that could lead to the development of cheap, generic vaccines. The campaign that BioNTech feared so much, according to Fang, was the launch of an international push calling for the drug industry to share intellectual property and patents associated with the COVID-19 vaccines.

Fang reports the assault on generic alternatives to the COVID-19 vaccines led to record profits for some pharmaceutical companies. Together, in 2021 Pfizer and BioNTech generated $37 billion in revenue from the shared mRNA vaccine alone. Moderna clocked in at $17.7 billion.

Fang said the high cost of vaccines meant countries like the United States, the UK and other wealthy nations got the bulk of the supply while poorer countries had to wait for what was left, which took more than a year in some cases.

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THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS NOT THE WORLD’S ONLY GOVERNMENT THAT ASKED TWITTER TO CENSOR POSTS RELATED TO COVID19. ACCORDING TO THE LATEST TWITTER FILES, GERMANY DID TOO, IN COLLABORATION WITH BIONTECH, ONE OF THE PHARMACEUTICAL GIANTS BEHIND THE COVID-19 M-RNA VACCINES

THIS WEEK, THE INTERCEPT’S LEE FANG REPORTED THE LATEST FINDINGS FROM THE TWITTER FILES.  FANG FOCUSED ON THE EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS OF NINA MORSCHHAEUSER, A TWITTER LOBBYIST.

FANG REPORTS IN DECEMBER OF 2020, MORSCHHAEUSER SAID BIONTECH AND THE GERMAN GOVERNMENT WARNED HER ABOUT AN IMPENDING ONLINE CAMPAIGN TO TARGET PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES DEVELOPING COVID-19 VACCINES. A SPOKESPERSON WITH BIONTECH ASKED TWITTER TO HIDE THE ACCOUNTS OF CERTAIN ACTIVISTS FOR TWO DAYS, TO COINCIDE WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE IMPENDING CAMPAIGN.

MORSCHHAEUSER SAID THE AUTHORITIES WERE WORRIED ABOUT A FLOOD OF COMMENTS THAT COULD VIOLATE TWITTER’S TERMS OF SERVICE, AND THAT THE PERSONAL ACCOUNTS OF VACCINE MANUFACTURER EMPLOYEES COULD BE TAKEN OVER.

FANG REPORTS IT’S UNCLEAR WHAT, IF ANY, ACTION TWITTER TOOK IN REGARDS TO BIONTECH’S REQUEST…BUT WE DO KNOW WHY THE COMPANY MADE THE REQUEST. THEY DIDN’T WANT TO SHARE PROPRIETARY KNOWLEDGE THAT COULD LEAD TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF CHEAP, GENERIC VACCINES.

THE CAMPAIGN THAT BIONTECH FEARED SO MUCH, ACCORDING TO FANG, WAS THE LAUNCH OF AN INTERNATIONAL PUSH CALLING FOR THE DRUG INDUSTRY TO SHARE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY AND PATENTS ASSOCIATED WITH THE COVID19 VACCINES.

FANG REPORTS THE ASSAULT ON GENERIC ALTERNATIVES TO THE COVID VACCINES LED TO RECORD PROFITS FOR SOME PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES. TOGETHER, IN 2021 PFIZER AND BIONTECH GENERATED $37 BILLION IN REVENUE FROM THE SHARED M-RNA VACCINE ALONE. MODERNA CLOCKED IN AT $17.7 BILLION.

FANG SAYS THE HIGH COST OF VACCINES MEANT COUNTRIES LIKE THE US, UK, AND OTHER WEALTHY NATIONS GOT THE BULK OF THE SUPPLY WHILE POORER COUNTRIES HAD TO WAIT FOR WHAT WAS LEFT, WHICH TOOK MORE THAN A YEAR IN SOME CASES.

THERE HAVE BEEN SEVERAL TWITTER FILE DUMPS. TO LEARN MORE ABOUT ELON MUSK’S MOVE TOWARDS TRANSPARENCY, HEAD ON OVER TO STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS DOT COM. WHERE WE DELIVER UNBIASED, STRAIGHT FACTS.