Twitter Bans Pro-Trump Site Over False Virus Claims

CBS News reports:

The financial website Zero Hedge is now barred from Twitter after publishing an article relaying a conspiracy theory that a Chinese scientist might be to blame for the coronavirus outbreak.

Zero Hedge on Friday wrote that Twitter had notified the site that it had violated the social media platform’s “rules against abuse and harassment.” That followed a report by BuzzFeed that Zero Hedge had shared the identity and personal information — including the email and phone number — of a Chinese researcher it claimed might know about the source of the virus.

The article, posted under the pseudonym “Tyler Durden” (the fictional character played by Brad Pitt in the movie “Fight Club”), was titled “Is This Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?”

Buzzfeed reports:

Zero Hedge, which describes itself as a financial blog, has more than 50,000 followers on Facebook and more than 670,000 followers on Twitter and is run by Daniel Ivandjiiski, a Bulgarian-born, US-based, former investment banker, who writes the majority of the posts published by the pseudonym Tyler Durden. The site regularly amplifies conspiracy theories from anonymous message board 4chan and writes frequently about the deep state, doomsday prep, bitcoin speculation, and New Age pseudoscience.

As the virus has spread, so too has misinformation about it. The new focus on the scientist is the culmination of several conspiracy theories that have gained traction since the beginning of the outbreak early in January. One version of the hoax began in Facebook Groups run by supporters of the pro-Trump QAnon movement and the anti-vax community, where users claimed the outbreak was a population control plot by former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates.