Published June 15, 2022
EPPC Fellow Dr. Aaron Kheriaty has submitted an expert declaration in support of a legal challenge filed by Missouri and Louisiana alleging that President Biden and other leading federal officials colluded with Big Tech companies to censor and suppress free speech. Dr. Kheriaty is the director of EPPC’s program on Bioethics and American Democracy.
Dr. Kheriaty’s declaration was part of a motion for preliminary injunction filed this week by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, following the original lawsuit the states filed last month.
In his declaration, Dr. Kheriaty details his firsthand experience with censorship by Twitter and YouTube of his commentary on Covid vaccines and vaccine mandates – topics on which, as a medical doctor and leading bioethicist, he has considerable expertise:
Even though the ethics of vaccine mandates is among my areas of expertise, and an area that has impacted me personally and professionally, I am extremely careful when posting any information on Twitter related to the vaccines, to avoid getting banned. This self-censorship has limited what I can say publicly on topics where I have specific scientific and ethical expertise and professional experience.
One of my videos, an early interview I did with journalist Alyson Morrow, on the ethics of vaccine mandates, was temporarily removed from YouTube. The company indicated it violated their misinformation policy but would not give any specifics regarding exactly what content from the interview was problematic. The video was only re-posted by YouTube after Morrow and others drew attention to the fact that YouTube had censored an academic medical ethicist for talking about the medical ethics of vaccine mandates—an absurd form of censorship
The pattern of content censored on these social media platforms mirrors closely the CDC and Biden administration policies. In my experience using these platforms to discuss covid topics, any content that challenges those federal policies is subject to severe censorship, without explanation, on Twitter and YouTube—even when the information shared is taken straight from peer-reviewed scientific literature.