ZeroHedge: Twitter ban over coronavirus article 'arbitrary and unjustified'

Financial blog ZeroHedge suggested the ban was potentially motivated by reasons other than the stated ones'

Financial blog ZeroHedge called its permanent suspension from Twitter on Friday "arbitrary and unjustified," after the site posted a link to an article on the origin of China's new coronavirus outbreak.

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The article --- published Wednesday titled, "Is This The Man Behind The Global Coronavirus Pandemic?" --- shared the name and personal information of a Chinese doctor and researcher at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and linked him to a theory claiming the new virus is an engineered bioweapon.

Twitter said it suspended ZeroHedge, which had 670,000 followers, for violating its rules against "abuse and harassment," according to a screenshot of a notification from Twitter shared by ZeroHedge pseudonymous author Tyler Durden.

The ban comes as social media platforms have been trying to fight misinformation on the virus.

Twitter has reportedly been steering users toward more credible sources when they search for coronavirus-related hashtags. Facebook said last week it would remove false content or conspiracy theories flagged by leading global health organizations and health authorities --- an unusual move for the social media site, which normally labels false information rather than outright removing it.

ZeroHeadge Twitter ban notice/ ZeroHedge

"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. As such, we find the suspension arbitrary and unjustified and potentially motivated by reasons other than the stated ones," ZeroHedge told FOX Business.

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The article that led to the suspension, which is still live on ZeroHedge.com, claims that an original version of the virus may have first been weaponized in Canada before it was obtained by a doctor at the Wuhan Institute of Virology, who is also a leader of the Bat Virus Infection and Immunization Group, and "accidentally or not" released into the public.

"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 pay [the doctor] a visit," Durden wrote in the article. He then lists the doctor's email and phone number.

BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Broderick, who published a story about the ZeroHedge article before the website's Twitter account was suspended, said ZeroHedge had doxed the Wuhan doctor in question. After tweeting about the article, he said he had received a statement from Twitter saying ZeroHedge's account was "permanently suspended for violating our platform manipulation policy."

ZeroHedge also posted another article detailing another coronavirus theory by Durden on Saturday titled, "Coronavirus Contains 'HIV Insertions,' Stoking Fears Over Artificially Created Bioweapon."

The Saturday post alleged Indian scientists also discovered strains of HIV in China's new coronavirus, and that the virus responds to HIV medication.

The Saturday article also disputes pushback by media against the theory detailed in the Wednesday article.

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"Over the past few days, the mainstream press has vigorously pushed back against a theory about the origins of the coronavirus that has now infected as many as 70,000+ people in Wuhan alone (depending on whom you believe). The theory is that China obtained the coronavirus via a Canadian research program, and started molding it into a bioweapon at the Institute of Virology in Wuhan," Durden wrote.

People wear face masks as they leave a Walmart grocery store in Beijing, Saturday. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)

"Politifact pointed the finger at Zero Hedge, in particular, though the story was widely shared across independent-leaning media," he added.

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"The theory is that the virus, which was developed by infectious disease experts, may have originated in the Wuhan-based lab of ... China's preeminent researcher of bat immune systems," Durden said, adding, "Now, a respected epidemiologist ... suggests it might have been genetically engineered for the purposes of a weapon, and not just any weapon but the deadliest one of all."

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Fox News' Christopher Carbone contributed to this report.