Cochrane Sweden wrongly suspended from social media platform X

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Last week, a report co-authored by Cochrane Sweden revealed that the results of hundreds of Nordic clinical trials remain unpublished. The team shared the report on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter. Two days later, their account was suspended from the platform following reports from unknown users. The team are appealing the decision but have had no response so far.

Since 2019, Cochrane Sweden have been involved in improving trial transparency, publishing reports and organizing international webinars. The latest report found that 475 clinical trials involving 83,903 patients completed during 2016-19 in Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden have never made their results public in any form.

“We shared the report on Nordic trial transparency on Tuesday 6 February, and by Thursday our Cochrane Sweden X account was suspended unexpectedly,” says Matteo Bruschettini, Director of Cochrane Sweden and co-author of the report. “We have initiated an appeal against the suspension, which is apparently for ‘pretending to be another entity in a misleading or deceptive manner’. We suspect that we were reported maliciously in response to our latest report, which is extremely unfortunate. We are currently considering whether to dismiss X and focus on other social media channels.”

Cochrane Sweden on X
X’s rules on ‘platform integrity and authenticity’ state that accounts will be suspended if they are ‘engaged in impersonation or are using a deceptive identity’. This is clearly not the case for Cochrane Sweden’s X account, which has always been run by Cochrane Sweden.

This is not the first time that Cochrane-affiliated social media channels have been erroneously censored by social media platforms. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Cochrane social media posts sharing evidence that ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine were ineffective treatments were removed from various social media platforms and wrongly tagged as ‘misinformation’.

“It’s disturbing to see that social media rules aimed at preventing misinformation are being used to do the exact opposite,” says Catherine Spencer, Chief Executive of the Cochrane Collaboration. “Social media platforms must do more to protect trusted sources from vexatious or malicious reports, and act swiftly to correct things when they make a mistake. Cochrane Sweden’s important work to promote research integrity has been undermined by rules ostensibly aimed at safeguarding integrity and authenticity. We stand behind Cochrane Sweden and urge X to restore their account as soon as possible.”

Friday, February 16, 2024