Twitter says it has permanently suspended markets blog Zero Hedge’s Twitter account, @zerohedge, for violating the company’s platform manipulation policy. On Wednesday, Zero Hedge posted a blog that doxxed a Chinese scientist and strongly suggested without evidence that the scientist created the strain of coronavirus that’s currently spreading around the world.
That blog lists a name, photo, email, and phone number that are reportedly tied to the scientist, and suggested that readers “pay [him] a visit” if they wanted to know “what really caused the coronavirus pandemic.” BuzzFeed News reported on Zero Hedge’s blog that doxxed the scientist earlier this evening, ahead of the Twitter suspension.
The Verge is not publishing a link to Zero Hedge’s blog post or information about the scientist to avoid spreading misinformation.
Because Zero Hedge’s Twitter account is permanently suspended, its entire page has been wiped clean, so it’s unclear exactly what may have led to the account’s suspension. However, Twitter said in a blog post on Wednesday that it would remove users that it felt were spreading disinformation at scale about the coronavirus outbreak.
Zero Hedge grew to prominence after the 2008 financial crisis and regularly shares pessimistic world views. In a 2016 Bloomberg profile of the site, a former Zero Hedge writer also described how he was frequently asked to frame issues with a pro-Russia viewpoint.
We asked, but Twitter has not told us whether or not it will take down tweets linking to Zero Hedge’s blog doxxing the Chinese scientist or otherwise keep the misinformation from spreading. Zero Hedge had more than 670,000 followers on Twitter before its account was suspended, according to BuzzFeed News.
Facebook and Instagram said yesterday they also would remove false claims and conspiracy theories about the coronavirus. Yesterday, the World Health Organization declared that the coronavirus is a global public health emergency, and today, President Trump banned foreign nationals who have traveled to China in the last 14 days from entering the US.