As part of its efforts to stave off the threat of regulation or break up under a potential Biden administration, Facebook is reportedly planning to encourage users to take a coronavirus vaccine, promote the sharing of content about the Paris climate agreement, and introduce further measures to crack down on coronavirus “misinformation.”
The Financial Times describes Facebook’s plans as a “charm offensive for Joe Biden” and notes that these initiatives “align with Mr Biden’s top priorities in government.”
The pro-coronavirus vaccine messaging is reportedly going to be part of a “major push” and Facebook is considering publishing a banner ad at the top of users’ News Feeds that encourages them to take a coronavirus vaccine after it has been approved.
To incentivize sharing of content related to the Paris climate agreement, which Biden has promised to rejoin, Facebook plans to introduce “stickers, buttons, and other functions,” according to the Financial Times.
In addition to pushing messaging that promotes the coronavirus vaccine and climate change, Facebook will also be reportedly expanding its efforts to “combat misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic.”
Facebook already aggressively censors content that it deems to be coronavirus misinformation. The company has applied warning labels to 167 million coronavirus posts this year. These warning labels reduce the visibility of Facebook posts by 95%.
Additionally, the company has removed 12 million posts from Facebook and Instagram for coronavirus misinformation.
Facebook also prohibits ads that discourage coronavirus vaccines and warns users when they try to share any coronavirus-related article.
These purported plans to appeal to Biden are likely to compound the existing level of one-sided censorship on Facebook’s platforms where posts that challenge mainstream coronavirus talking points are restricted while posts that parrot the talking points of health authorities are amplified.
The news of these plans follows Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube revealing that they’re teaming up with the UK government to censor vaccine-skeptic content online.
While Facebook openly censors its users for posting coronavirus content that it deems to be misinformation, it still wants to use their data as part of its efforts to analyze and predict worldwide coronavirus cases.
These reports of Facebook making changes to restrict coronavirus conversations are only one part of the censorship threat under a potential Biden administration. The Biden campaign and members of his transition team are also strong advocates of social media censorship.
Biden’s top state media transition lead, Richard Stengel, supports “hate speech” laws and rethinking the First Amendment. He’s also praised Big Tech’s censorship of President Trump and described their censorship of “hate speech” and “disinformation” as “fair.”
Additionally, the Biden campaign has called for post-election censorship and wants to create a task force to crack down on online “harassment.”