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Suppressing Speech

Another round of Twitter Files was published on Friday, showing just how much Twitter and other social media platforms worked to suppress speech around Covid and vaccinations.

Even true speech was suppressed in the name of preventing “vaccine hesitancy.” True stories of death and vaccine events were suppressed. Stories about natural immunity were suppressed. Stories of breakthrough infections were suppressed. Even people who just wanted to “ask questions” were suppressed because Twitter and advisers at the Virality Project thought that users could not think for themselves. They worried that if you were presented with the freedom of speech and thought, you might decide not to get vaccinated.

The Virality Project and researchers from Stanford were able to change Twitter’s policies about only censoring stories that were demonstrably false. It turns out that these think tanks were government funded. At this point, that is not at all shocking. What is shocking, as Taibbi writes, is that “it accelerated the evolution of digital censorship, moving it from judging truth/untruth to a new, scarier model, openly focused on political narrative at the expense of fact.”

Twitter is the only company owning up to this but the emails show that other platforms were participating too, namely, Facebook/Instagram, Google/YouTube, TikTok and Pinterest.

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