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Twitter Will No Longer Enforce "COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy"
"In every case the answer to bad speech is not censorship, the answer to bad speech is more speech, better speech."
Twitter is no longer enforcing their "COVID-19 misleading information policy." The change went into effect on November 23rd, 2022. Prior to this, any post Twitter felt was misleading or false was either removed or received a "misleading" or "false" label on the post.
We saw this throughout the pandemic with posts from renowned experts in the medical field. Despite a post representing legitimate information, it was still labelled and/or removed if it went against information put out by the World Health Organization, CDC or FDA. In many cases, it turned out the information The World Health Organization, CDC or FDA put out was incorrect.
Not only did this happen on Twitter, but also on Facebook, YouTube and Google search. Big topics censored were around COVID-19 vaccines, lockdowns, and mask mandates.
Last month I published an article regarding renowned British cardiologist, academic and evidence-based medicine expert Dr. Aseem Malhotra. He was suspended by tech giant Facebook for three days following multiple social media posts about Covid vaccines.
Even the British Medical Journal was "fact-checked" for showing that that Pfizer falsified data, unblinded patients, employed inadequately trained vaccinators, and was slow to follow up on adverse events reported in Pfizer’s pivotal phase III trial for COVID vaccines. Legitimate papers discussing natural immunity were also labelled as false.
These policies severely punished independent media outlets for presenting legitimate information as well. For the most part, the majority of legitimate information that was subjected to this was information that opposed and exposed government measures as harmful. It's no surprise what Big Tech did, has done, and continues to do given their strong connections to politicians and big government. It's no secret that they worked with multiple federal agencies with regards to this initiative as well.
On social media the last few years there was little to no room to question and have dialogue about quickly evolving situations. Why? Should people not have the right to determine what is and what is not for themselves? Is it healthy to have one political party, in this case the left, wield so much power over 'truth' where they are actively doing the thinking for the citizenry?
Sure, misinformation and 'fake news' was and is indeed a big problem, but it's not as if federal health regulatory agencies and mainstream media are not spreaders of misinformation themselves.
Further, citizens increasing their ability to have dialogue, discern information, and communicate effectively with one another IS the way forward, not censorship. This is why our parent organization, Collective Evolution, is dedicated to increasing public sensemaking through education and media initiatives like The Pulse. Listen to this episode of the CE podcast to learn more.
"Laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty, there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population."
One great example I like to use comes from epidemiologist Tracy Beth Høeg, M.D., Ph.D and researcher Marty Makary, M.D., M.P.H. They published a paper that includes anonymous testimonies from CDC officials about the lack of science taking place at the CDC when it comes to COVID-19, yet academia who exposed this were subjected to censorship. You can read more about that here.
This is why the Biden administration is being sued and has been sued multiple times for free speech violations.
"I think the reality here is…it’s not really about freedom of speech, and it’s not really about protecting people from harm…I think what you see is the internet has become the de facto means of mass communication. That represents influence which represents power, and what we see is we see a whole number of different tribes basically squabbling to try to gain control over this instrument of power."
Preventing dialogue and actively engaging in censoring information simply because it opposes a perspective given to the citizenry via government is quite authoritarian and Orwellian. The internet is ripe with fake news and misleading information, and it always has been. It's ok if governments want to convey information to the citizenry and encourage certain behaviours like they always have, but the censorship that has taken place during the pandemic was something else.
The good news? Censorship certainly has been a catalyst for more people to question who we decide to put in charge, and who we are actually calling our "leaders."