The libertarian financial website Zero Hedge was permanently suspended from Twitter after it published an article questioning the involvement of a Chinese scientist in the outbreak of the deadly novel coronavirus.
On its website, Zero Hedge’s pseudonymous author “Tyler Durden” said he received a notification from Twitter that he had violated “our rules against abuse and harassment.”
Earlier, BuzzFeed reported that the Zero Hedge website shared the name and personal information of a scientist who it said may have knowledge about the source of the virus, whose details then spread across the internet.
In a piece titled ‘Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?’, Durden included a picture of a scientist at Wuhan’s Institute of Virology and suggested users could pay him “a visit” to find out more about what caused the outbreak.
“Something tells us, if anyone wants to find out what really caused the coronavirus pandemic that has infected thousands of people in China and around the globe, they should probably” contact him, the report said.
Since being founded in the depths of the financial crisis, Zero Hedge has built a dedicated following by serving up a mix of hardcore financial analysis and populist political commentary.
A Twitter spokesperson said in an email to Bloomberg that the @zerohedge account, which had more than 670,000 followers, “was permanently suspended for violating our platform manipulation policy.”
In an email to Bloomberg from the author known as Durden, he said he believed the suspension was “unjustified, and likely motivated by reasons other than the stated ones.”
“We are confident that we did not violate any of the stated Twitter terms: we neither incited harassment, nor did we ‘dox’ the public official, whose contact information is as of this moment listed on the Wuhan institute’s website,” he wrote in the email.
In 2016, Bloomberg revealed the identities of Zero Hedge’s three main writers. They were Colin Lokey, who quit the blog, Tim Backshall, a credit derivatives strategist, and Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born former analyst long-rumored to be behind the site.