On Monday, Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt released to Twitter the full transcription of Dr. Anthony Fauci’s full deposition in the ongoing case regarding social media censorship, in which it was revealed that Fauci's daughter worked for Twitter.
Attorney D. John Sauer asked Fauci if he knew anyone that worked for social media companies at the time, to which Fauci stated, "Well, I’ve had communications with Mark Zuckerberg in the past who was — I’ve done, I believe, three outward FaceTime discussions encouraging people to get vaccinated."
During the line of questioning, Fauci revealed that his daughter used to work for Twitter as a software engineer, but said in response to another question that they never discussed content posted to social media.
"Do you have acquaintances, people that you know, who work on social media platforms?" Sauer questioned.
"Well, a person who used to work as a software engineer for Twitter was my daughter," said Fauci.
"Did you ever — when she was working at Twitter, did you ever discuss with her the content of stuff posted on social media platforms?" Sauer asked, to which Fauci said no.
"Did you ever discuss with her the origins of the virus or concerns about the origins of the virus?" Sauer continued.
"No, she has no interest in that," said Fauci, who added that she stopped working for the platform "over a year ago."
The deposition, given on November 23, comes as part of a social media censorship lawsuit brought forth by Schmitt and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry earlier this year alleging that key figures in the Biden administration, including President Joe Biden himself, "have colluded with and/or coerced social media companies to suppress disfavored speakers, viewpoints, and content on social media platforms by labeling the content 'dis-information,’ 'misinformation,' and 'mal-information.'"
Topics include the suppression of the Hunter Biden laptop story, talk of the Covid-19 lab leak theory, questioning the efficacy of masks and lockdowns, and the legitimacy of the 2020 election.
Fauci is one of many key Biden administration figures deposed in the lawsuit.
As questioning continued, Sauer began probing about social media and the conversations regarding the lab leak theory.
"Well, let me ask you this: Did you ever have concerns about what people might be saying on social media about the virus’s origin?" Sauer asked.
Fauci responded, "You know, I’m so dissociated from social media. I don’t have a Twitter account. I don’t do Facebook. I don’t do any of that, so I’m not familiar with that. I’ve never gotten involved in any of that."
"Were you ever concerned about what people would be saying on social media about the origins of the virus?" Sauer later asked.
"I’m concerned about, you know, there being misinformation or disinformation that would interfere with our trying to save the lives of people throughout the world, which happens when people spread false claims," Fauci responded.
Citing an email from February 2, 2020, Sauer points to a line from Fauci that read: "And so many people and the threat of further distortions on social media." Sauer asked, "Were you concerned about the further distortions on social media the day after the conference call?"
"I guess I was," Fauci responded. "I said it here in the e-mail that I was concerned about the further distortions."
"What distortions on social media were you concerned about?" Sauer asked.
"Wild speculations and accusations, you know, blaming the Chinese and talking about they’re deliberately or accidentally — which certainly is a possibility," said Fauci. "There was no evidence of that at the time, and that’s what I was concerned about."
Sauer noted that in this email, Fauci wrote, "it’s essential that we move quickly," and "hopefully we can get the WHO to convene."
Following a short break, Sauer returned to questioning Fauci, this time referencing his comments on misinformation.
"Is it your view that misinformation and disinformation on social media can lead to loss of life?" Sauer asked.
"I think in any situation where egregious misinformation such as some of the ones I referred to before, such as information that would discourage people from getting vaccinated, that in my mind, would be a way that life could otherwise have been saved would be lost, if people were persuaded not to pursue live-saving intervention," Fauci responded.
When Sauer asked if there should be steps to "curb the spread of misinformation and disinformation," Fauci said, "You know, that’s not my area. I’m very well aware of the concept of freedom of speech…. I really don’t have any opinion on that."
Fauci said in response to questions that he has never contacted a social media company to remove misinformation, and that "no my knowledge" he hasn’t contacted Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to discuss such actions.
"Are you aware that — generally, that after your comments at the White House on April 17, coronavirus task force briefing speech about the lab leak hypothesis was censored on social media?" Sauer asked.
"I’m not aware of suppression of speech on social media to my knowledge," Fauci responded.
"Were you aware that Twitter, for example, removed content that suggested the virus may have escaped from a lab?" Sauer questioned.
"You know, I don’t know for sure. I can say I am not aware of it. It may be someone somehow sent me one of the thousands of e-mails and said, 'hey, this is happening,' but I was not aware to the point of noting it in my memory that Twitter or any other social media was suppressing anything," said Fauci.
Sauer moved on to note a document from Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, titled "Update on our work to keep people informed and limit misinformation about COVID-19."
He noted that one of these topics targeted by the document was posts stating that "COVID-19 is manmade or manufactured."
Fauci said that he wasn’t aware that Meta made these changes to their policy.
"Did you ever have any communications with anybody removing speech about the lab leak theory of the origins of the Covid from social media platforms?" Sauer questioned.
"I don’t recall ever having any conversation. But again, no, I would say it would be unlike me because I don’t get involved in that sort of stuff. Like I said, my association with social media is almost zero. I don’t have an account. I don’t tweet. I don’t pay attention to social media. I wouldn’t know how to access a tweet if you paid me," Fauci responded.
Sauer also noted Meta’s policy that states, "we remove misinformation primarily about vaccines when public health authorities conclude that the information is false and. Likely to directly contribute to imminent vaccine refusals," questioning whether Fauci would be one of these health authorities.
Fauci later stated that "to my knowledge, I’ve never had anyone mention me and my authority or my reputation that has anything to do with influencing social media platforms."
Sauer also noted an email from a Twitter employee marking false Fauci Twitter accounts, to which Sauer asked, "were you aware that staff at the NIH were communicating with Twitter about removing accounts from Twitter because they were impersonating you?"
"I kind of vaguely recall that there was a fake account of people using my name under false pretenses. I’m not 100 percent sure what they did about it. I’m sure that when they found out that it was a false account, that they would want it to be removed. I didn’t say remove it," said Fauci. "I believe I have a communication staff that I’m sure, if they found out it was a false and misleading account, that they would want it to be removed."
"And would your communications staff contact the social media platforms to have that false and mislead content removed?" Sauer asked.
"I don’t know how they would do it. Again, Is aid I don’t pay attention to things related to social media accounts," Fauci responded.
Sauer also later noted that moves were made on Facebook and Instagram to have fake Fauci accounts taken down.
Sauer exhibited an email from Nicole Berkowitz from the Environmental Protection Agency expressing concern to the NIH regarding an ad placement on a "misleading" video on YouTube that made it appear to be an official CDC video.
"Did you have any knowledge of someone from the EPA consulting with an NIH list to try and find a contact at social media to have dangerous information taken out?" Sauer asked.
"I don’t have any recollection of any of this," said Fauci.
Sauer later went on to ask Fauci, "do you have an opinion about whether people should be allowed to post on social media opinion that you think, for example, are dangerous and might lead to loss of life? What’s your view on that?"
"You know, again, you say allowed, I don’t know what the legal or other First Amendment issues are associated with that. That’s not my lane or my area of expertise," Fauci said once again.
"As a physician and a scientist and a public health person, I'm very sensitive to the fact that disinformation, including some of the disinformation that we discussed that, for example, has people avoid lifesaving interventions, is dangerous to health," he added.
Fauci continued on to state that "you counter that I think is open to question," stating that his personal approach is to "flood the system with correct information as opposed to interfering with other people’s ability to say what they want to say."
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