The Wuhan virus has presented the left-leaning Big Tech companies yet another opportunity to burnish their reputations for censorship of conservatives and independent thinkers.
They have seized that opportunity.
To be sure, Google/YouTube, Facebook and Twitter have allowed much speech and activity on their platforms that dissents from official government advisories and loyal liberal orthodoxy to such. But whatever the techs’ standards are, they are applied inconsistently.
The latest, largest, and likely most egregious example is a video interview with two Bakersfield, Calif. physicians, Drs. Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, by KERO-TV, in which the medical professionals expressed skepticism about the threat of the virus to the public, following their own experiences and analysis of various data about the disease. After earning more than 5 million views in just a few days, and getting the broader attention of the national media, Google-owned YouTube removed the interview for allegedly violating the platform’s terms of service.
The doctors’ offense? Rendering a professional medical opinion following their own COVID-19 tests of more than 5,000 patients they saw themselves, in which they found the virus far more prevalent than previously thought in the scientific models produced by universities and government agencies.
“The initial models were woefully inaccurate,” Erickson said, taking into account his own experience as well as the research. “They predicted millions of cases of deaths—not of prevalence or incidents—but deaths. That is not materializing.”
He also said that he has been pressured to add COVID-19 as a cause on death reports he signs – something another doctor in Minnesota has validated.
As for YouTube, they told media in response to the removal, “From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against COVID-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time.”
So, just stay in line and don’t challenge authority on the wrong issue, folks.
YouTube parent company Google has gotten into the COVID-censorship act as well. Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho saw its app removed from the Android store because it allegedly violated the platform’s “Sensitive Events policy.” As usual these companies don’t communicate with users about why they do things – except with algorithmic bots – so the church was left to speculate that they were banned because of “pastoral calls for repentance during the pandemic and ‘short lessons on responding faithfully to the COVID-19 crisis,’” according to the Washington Examiner.
So, doing what a church does normally makes it a social media outlaw when there’s a pandemic.
Then there’s Facebook, which as National Legal and Policy Center reported last week, is openly quashing dissent about the need for social distancing to address the coronavirus, as well as other differing opinions that fall outside guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the China-controlled World Health Organization.
But also, led by CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the social media giant is removing pages by groups trying to organize in order to get their states to reopen their economies. Some have been allowed to operate on Facebook, but if they don’t comply with government mandates, they are removed.
“Unless government prohibits the event during this time, we allow it to be organized on Facebook,” a company spokesperson told the New York Post. “For this same reason, events that defy government’s guidance on social distancing aren’t allowed on Facebook.”
Twitter, unsurprisingly, has also gotten in the act. University of North Carolina at Wilmington professor and Townhall commentator Mike Adams said he was banned because he advocated for businesses deemed “nonessential” – in a decree by Gov. Roy Cooper – to defy the order and reopen in an act of civil disobedience.
“I have been banned from Twitter and cannot get back on unless I remove the following Tweet: ‘I just learned that a county commissioner in the western part of the state is defying Roy Cooper by opening his business on Friday. A business owner in Wilmington is doing the same thing this Friday. Open your business. Just do it.’,” he reported on his Facebook page. “Twitter is now helping the Cooper administration enforce an unlawful executive order.”
And investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has endured misery at the hands of just about all the Big Tech censors, as she explained in a series of tweets yesterday:
2-Google demonetized my website ads due to an article I shared in Jan. about the Trump impeachment “whistleblower,” AP and Vanity Fair randomly brought me up in articles to controversialize me, and Wikipedia agenda editors changed my bio to make it falsely appear— Sharyl Attkisson?️♂️ (@SharylAttkisson) April 30, 2020
4-It’s not about me, it’s about how much information they are controlling through tactics like this. If this doesn’t bother you or at least make you wonder…— Sharyl Attkisson?️♂️ (@SharylAttkisson) April 30, 2020
The dominant tech companies have adopted the information pipelines, initiated from government and delivered through left-leaning legacy media (like ABC, CBS, NBC and CNN), as the official authorities on the coronavirus and how to respond. Those who attempt to correct the record run the risk of being muted and/or ostracized.
It may be time, as conservative columnist Deroy Murdock suggests, to remove the protection from civil litigation these companies enjoy under the Communications Decency Act. Their inequitable treatment of free speech and discourse, despite claims to the contrary, render them false advertisers.