It’s almost as if the human cost of the coronavirus pandemic is secondary to some minds – not just the lives, the jobs, and the civil liberties lost due to it. All some seem to care about is a carefully curated political and ideological message.
And tl;dr: We don’t live in the age of 3 or 4 “authoritative” corporate broadcasters. We live in the age of the internet – the people have a voice and it deserves to be heard.
But let’s see how those who want it to all go back to how it used to be, try to go about achieving it.
For some, now’s not a time to do “serious” research – now’s a time to make political points. So none of these concerns – not even the prematurity of it all – matter to the likes of Joan Donovan who dug right into “misinformation, scams, and conspiracies” around the pandemic.
And that’s before anyone even knows for a fact what this pandemic is (i.e. how exactly it originated in China.)
In other words, before actual facts are known and confirmed – who has the right to say what “misinformation, scam, and conspiracy” really is, and could be?
Nevertheless, the reality is that what matters to the author of a piece published by the MIT Technology Review here is to make sure not Covid itself – but “Covid hoaxes” are killed. Dead. Offline. Forever.
We’re used to the likes of Facebook, Twitter, et al., getting pressured and caving in – but have you ever heard of a such a “warrior” going after none other than the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine?
Well, now you have. And there’s an ugly and disturbing term thrown out that will likely be picked up by friendly search engines to bring this type of content to the top and associate it with Wayback Machine: “Zombie Covid-19 content.” And, “hidden virality.”
What these people mean is that one of the greatest gifts that the digital age has given us, archiving and the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine – that preserves for the humanity the snapshots of what appeared on the world wide web in the past – can’t be effectively censored as of now.
All of the work that journalists are putting in to get content scrubbed from the internet, is being preserved by the Internet Archive – giving people an effective and simple way to still link to it.
And what panic that must cause for the censors.
“Many of the Facebook shares are to right-wing groups and pages in the US, as well as to groups and pages critical of China in Pakistan and Southeast Asia,” says the piece, and adds, informatively, at last: “Facebook has since placed a fact-check label over the link to the Wayback Machine version (of a popular page) too, but it had already been seen a huge number of times.”
Good to know that about Facebook, too.
Meanwhile, march on, Wayback Machine. Archive everything.