Twitter gives amnesty to (some) Covid ‘misinformation spreaders’
But the Bad Guys who love their censorship are probably still winning.
In our insane “New Normal,” it’s nice to get some welcome news … and it’s good news that Elon Musk’s Twitter seems to be easing its enforcement of its “Covid misinformation policy.”
Here’s how Zero Hedge described the news:
“Twitter will no longer enforce its Covid-19 misinformation policy, under which users who deviated from prevailing establishment narratives frequently had their accounts locked or suspended.”
Tyler’s second sentence gets an A-plus:
“The longstanding policy did not apply to misinformation from government officials, who regularly lied about things such as transmission, masks, vaccine efficacy, side effects, or any of the other 'science' which turned out to be patently false."
A tweet from BNO News Live gives us this information:
“Twitter is reinstating 62,000 accounts which were permanently suspended.”
I’ve always wondered how many accounts, in aggregate, have been suspended or permanently banned at Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. Globally, this figure has to be in the millions (I’m one of these millions).
Zero Hedge gives us one more specific number:
“The platform suspended more than 11,000 accounts … for violating its COVID misinformation policy between January 2022 and September 2022, according to information published by Twitter.”
Of course, if accurate, this is only the accounts suspended between January and September. The vast majority of accounts had been suspended well earlier than this.
Tracy Beanz is STILL banned
One of those accounts was that of Tracy Beanz, the founder and publisher of the investigative journalism site UncoverDC.com
As I chronicled in a feature story last month, Beanz’s account was “permanently suspended” on January 8, 2021 - the same day President Trump’s account was permanently suspended.
According to an email from Tracy this morning, she’s still banned today.
The huge number of people whose social media accounts were suspended in the last three years received some variation of the same explanation.
Posters were told their accounts were suspended because they “violated community guidelines” dealing with “misinformation” or “disinformation.” This misinformation is said to have been potentially “harmful” to members of these social media “communities.”
Many people who have been banned were also said to have spread dangerous “conspiracies.” With Covid, those banned often were guilty of making posts that might have prompted “vaccine hesitancy” …. and the social media companies (like government and public health officials) didn’t want anyone to be “hesitant” about getting this “safe” and “effective” vaccine.
The news publishers who publish important journalism get banned
Regarding Beanz and her investigative journalism website, I’ve read many of the site’s Covid stories (and wrote at least 10 stories myself). I can’t think of one that contained provable falsehoods or “misinformation.”
In fact, they all seem to have been prescient, accurate and often original, meaning no other journalism organization was publishing the same-type stories.
To cite one example, in an article written by Beanz herself on April 5, 2020, Beanz documented how cases of Influenza Like Illness (ILI) were spreading across the country far earlier than in previous flu seasons. She theorized that some percentage of these “sick” people could have had Covid.
Here, Beanz was challenging the official narrative that spread of this virus in America didn’t begin until “latter January” 2020 (the CDC’s position).
My main point is that Beanz was well ahead of her peers in reporting this key information. I still don’t understand how it might “harm” anyone to read such fact-based reporting, reporting that cited the CDC’s own statistics.
Or I know this: The people who might really be “harmed” by truthful information work for our own government and/or at giant companies who always support the government’s position.
I’ve been a big fan of Beanz since she and her website were the only Internet news site that would publish my first big “early spread” story.
Before I’d learned about UncoverDC.com, I sent the story or a draft of it to at least 25 well-known news organizations and none published it. Beanz immediately said she’d publish my article and was dumbfounded every other news organization wouldn’t.
Anyway, the one person willing to run an important feature story replete with “newsworthy” features was targeted for permanent censorship. This, in a nutshell, is our chilling “New Normal.”
Censorship kills people
While these social media companies pat themselves on the back for imposing censorship policies which they argue helped “save millions of lives,” these same policies have actually had devastating impacts on global health and the economy.
By censoring voices that were challenging the “official” or “authorized” narratives about lockdowns, masks, alternative treatments and then the vaccines, these social media platforms ensured that billions of people would not be exposed to contrarian information that might have saved their lives, or the lives of their loved ones.
If justice still exists in the world, officials with social media (and legacy media) companies will face charges that they helped make “crimes against humanity” possible. They did this by intentionally censoring information that, if known by more people, would have saved lives and prevented millions of serious medical issues.
I hadn’t thought of this point ….
Fellow Sub-stack author “Simulation Commander” at his site “Screaming into the Void” made a point I hadn’t thought of until we exchanged posts on another Covid topic.
“It's times like this that I'm super pissed about my Twitter ban,” he wrote. “I'd love to be able to go back and 're-catch' a lot of the information I was posting at the time, but it's all gone now.”
The Commander makes an original and important point: Everyone who’s been banned no longer has access to their previous posts. Nor do any of the millions of people who were following these writers and thinkers.
This means researchers cannot go back and find astute posts containing important facts and supporting links. It’s hard to quantify the impact of this feature of censorship, but it’s straight out of Orwell’s 1984.
Any information that might have been important, or that challenged “Big Brother,” has literally been scrubbed from the permanent record.
While I celebrate Twitter re-activating the accounts of some of the people it had previously banned, I have no illusions other giant tech and social media companies will soon abandon their censorship program.
Tucker puts focus on Apple and its support of China’s dictatorship
For example, Tucker Carlson’s monologue last night was about how Apple is helping to suppress free speech in China, where throngs of Chinese citizens might be trying to belatedly revolt against one of the most totalitarian regimes on the planet.
As Tucker pointed out, it’s extremely challenging for leaders of this budding protest movement to communicate with one another. One reason for this is that Apple disabled a feature of its I-phones that allowed people to communicate with one another without going on the Internet, which the government of course controls.
So Apple, one of the wealthiest companies in the world, is apparently siding with government officials in China who despise and fear free speech (and the views of their own citizens).
In China, “the people” are trying to rise up to protest three years of the most extreme “Zero Covid” policies.
Of course, America’s trusted public health officials, media executives and most politicians cheered China’s Covid policies.
It should go without saying that protests against totalitarian policies are unlikely to work if the people who might lead said protests are brazenly censored.
The real battle continues ….
America’s not as bad as China … yet. However for three years, our leaders in government and outside of government have been moving rapidly in China’s direction.
The fact Twitter is once again allowing some people to engage in authentic free speech is a positive sign. However, speaking for myself - at Substack where free speech still lives - it’s clear that mass censorship is alive and well.
“Freedom fighters” in the resistance still have much work to do to if we are going to defeat these would-be totalitarians.