One lingering concern in the era of social media is how and why online venues like Facebook and Twitter decide to “regulate” speech, as well as whether or not the government is pressuring them to do more. Recently, hundreds of pages of emails between federal authorities and the major social media platforms were dropped from the case; they are informative, if not conclusive, to read.
Attorneys General from Louisiana and Missouri filed the civil lawsuit, claiming that the tech companies’ efforts to combat disinformation constitute “government action” under the law since they entail “open cooperation” with public authorities. The AGs released some of what they have already discovered in a court filing last week, describing it as “a fascinating peek into a large, widespread government ‘Censorship Enterprise’.”
Okay, perhaps. Many of the email exchanges resemble sincere communications between public figures and internet service providers who are concerned about obviously bogus content. In several exchanges, though, there is an overt solicitude for senior White House aides that raises questions. More emails will soon be released since the judge allowed extra discovery this week.
The issue with seeing all of the correspondence—some of which dates to the Trump Administration—as fundamentally fraudulent is that a lot of it appears to contain genuine disinformation. Any way we can get this taken down? The White House identifies the Instagram profile anthonyfauciofficial as potentially being someone impersonating Dr. Anthony Fauci. Actually, it’s not one of ours. Facebook’s response was “Yep, on it” (the majority of the names have been changed).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerts Twitter about rumors spreading that the FDA “revoked” several Covid diagnostic products. The warning is deemed “very helpful” by Twitter. Tweets that claim Covid vaccinations include microchips or that unvaccinated persons are at risk “simply by being next to vaccinated people” are also flagged by the CDC. The Twitter contact replies, “Some of them have already been evaluated and taken care of, and I’ll ask the team to go over the others.”
Occasionally, a tech behemoth poses the question, especially in light of the frequent emergence of new Covid ideas. Facebook asks the CDC to “debunk” allegations that vaccinations for youngsters might result in hepatitis, ALS, or even “magnetism” or “change blood color.”
When responding, the CDC appears cautious. Is the rumor that Covid vaccinations don’t work on children true? Until the pharmaceutical firms have supplied data, CDC cannot comment on this. Is danger of heart inflammation present? It’s true that there have been more myocarditis reports. Similar reasoning applies to “Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) in patients who have received the J&J/Janssen COVID-19 Vaccine, but not the mRNA COVID-19 immunizations.”
“My team has requested for instances of questionable content so we can evaluate trends,” a Twitter employee told the CDC. “If you have any examples of fraud—such as fraudulent covid cures, fake immunization cards, etc.,” would be especially useful. There is proof that the major social media platforms welcomed assistance in correcting the record because they were concerned about a Gresham’s law of information, where bad Covid information would drive out the positive.
A few contentious exchanges involving important political appointees with White House approval are more concerning. A reporter questioned President Biden on July 16, 2021, on Covid misinformation and his advice for social media platforms like Facebook. He declared, “They’re killing people.” “Look, the unvaccinated are the only group experiencing a pandemic. They are also killing people.
A message was sent to Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on that day from a person the AGs refer to as “a very senior executive at Meta.” The CEO states, “I know our teams gathered today to better grasp the extent of what the White House wants from us moving forward on disinformation. Oh, is it the meaning of the term “bully pulpit”? The executive said, “It’s not wonderful to be accused of killing people—but as I mentioned by email, I’m keen to find a method to deescalate and work together cooperatively.” in a text message that was sent shortly after.
The AGs claim that “the senior Meta executive” wrote a follow-up email a week later. The statement reads, “I wanted to make sure you noticed the actions we just did this past week to alter policy on what we are eliminating with relation to disinformation.” We are dedicated to working toward our common goal of assisting America in getting control of this pandemic, as I stated throughout the conversation. “We hear your need for us to do more. We want to make sure to keep you updated on our progress on each of the four particular improvements you’ve mentioned.
Fascinating. What else did the White House secretly say after Mr. Biden publicly said that social media platforms were to blame for killing people? Federal Judge Terry Doughty directed the government 21 days on Tuesday to give up any contact the tech titans may have had with Dr. Fauci, Karine Jean-Pierre, the press secretary for the White House, and other members of the Department of Health and Human Services’ public relations team.
Here’s the issue: Who decides what is genuine and incorrect in our society, especially when it comes to cutting-edge technologies like Covid? It’s not feasible. Because of this, even incorrect speech has been considered protected by the First Amendment, along with satire, opinion, speculation, and guesswork. Big Tech and the executive branch are suppressing it. For instance, a tweet calling for more research on concerns the author has heard regarding the Covid vaccines is not a misleading statement of truth and does not contravene any Twitter policies.
You can also tell that Tech was engaged in much more than just upholding its standards if you carefully read the emails and take their context into account. In particular, it was supporting lockdowns and vaccinations as a tactic to fight the epidemic while collaborating with the executive branch to advance a certain public agenda. It’s one thing to promote the government’s favoured message. That as well as putting to silence anyone who disagree with the government are other examples.
I shudder to think of the outrage that would have ensued if a Republican government had used social media in this manner.
Never view the government as the “arbiter of truth,” regardless of whether Democrats or Republicans are in power. Press and social media should conduct their own investigations to find the solutions. The press serves this purpose.
It’s scary stuff, this.
The government and Twitter collaborated to restrict Covid commentator Alex Berenson, as is already known. More Facebook emails are welcome.