Big Media and Big Tech fell completely out of sync with material reality, smearing criticism that had previously been normal, and explicitly banning topics from social media such as discussion of a possible lab leak, or vaccines not stopping viral transmission. Polite society agreed with such bans, stayed silent, or even, as in the case of the Virality Project and its partners, led the censoring. A cadre of North American and European anti-disinformation elites meanwhile had been slowly convincing NGOs in Asia, Africa, and Latin America that their biggest problem was not too little but too much online freedom, the solution to which was more corporate and government control in order to protect human rights and democracy.
Articles covering censorship at Brownstone Institute feature opinion and analysis of the global censorship industrial complex and the impacts on social life, public health, free trade, liberty, and policy. All Brownstone Institute Censorship articles are translated into multiple languages.
The Virality Project however is just part of a broader cultural shift that reverses long standing liberal/left commitments to free expression and allows censorship in the name of protection and safety. However in suppressing “stories of true vaccine side effects” the Virality Project put people in danger. Rather than keeping people safe they exposed us to the depredations of BigPharma.
The collapse of support for free speech among Western pseudo-elites is the foundation of so many other problems, from medicine to war. Misinformation is the natural state of the world. Open science and vigorous debate are the tools we deploy to become less wrong over time. Individual and collective decision-making depend on them.
So long as it wants to remain on the EU market, Twitter cannot say no to the demands of the European Commission. The enforcement mechanism that renders the Code of Practice obligatory is the EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA). The DSA gives the European Commission power to impose fines of up to 6% percent of global turnover on platforms that it finds to be in violation of the Code: n.b. global turnover, not just turnover on the EU market!
This all follows a similar pattern to the informational warfare of the Covid era: an inconvenient narrative arises, the government and lemmings in the media slander it as false and dangerous, and, months later, the dispute in question turns out to be true (or at least highly plausible). Arguments over natural immunity, vaccine efficacy, masks, the lab leak hypothesis, school shutdowns, lockdowns, and the scientific basis of social distancing are just a few examples that followed this cycle of reporting.
It’s morally, legally, and intellectually repugnant that federal officials in the United States have constructed a vast apparatus for censoring legal speech, bypassing the First Amendment—without informing the public—on the pretext that the activities of foreign regimes which have been deliberately permitted on our online platforms have gotten so out of control.
Germany’s ARD public television published a commentary last weekend describing censored Twitter voices as “rats” and calling for them to be “beaten back into their holes.”
So you ask, “why didn’t more physicians stand up and object?”Because the entire profession has been subjected to the most aggressive and coordinated propaganda, censorship, and defamation campaign the modern western world has ever seen.
Economic destruction, increased suicide attempts due to seemingly indefinite isolation, horrifying levels of learning loss, increasing obesity amongst kids, plummeting test scores, increased poverty and hunger, supply chain problems, rampant inflation; all of it is a direct result of policies imposed by terrified, incompetent “experts.”
Does anyone really imagine that the Biden administration has anything remotely like this sort of capacity to direct the actions of online platforms? Make no mistake about it. Twitter censorship is government censorship. But the government in question is not the US government, but rather the European Union, and the EU is, in effect, imposing its censorship on the entire world.
Since the Spring of 2020, economists have had a strong incentive to censor themselves about the costs of covid measures for fear of being seen as out of step with the hastily achieved consensus that covid measures came without any significant costs to the public. Economists dismissed any dissent from the lockdown consensus. On Twitter and elsewhere, those few who dared dissent were labelled cranks or grandma killers.
By simultaneously threatening both the federal bureaucracy and social media companies, a handful of high-level officials could effectively transform the federal government into a sprawling censorship army reminiscent of Mao’s Red Guards, silencing any opposition to tin-pot public health policies with increasing detachment and certitude as this systematic silencing falsely convinced them that the regime’s policies were just and good.