The mask is slipping (pun fully intended), all over the place – regarding the Big Tech/Big Government collusion. Now it’s time to pay close attention to the role played by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
We’ve already been awed – just by the magnitude of the whole thing – if not exactly “shocked” by the Twitter Files.
After all, while it was happening, a whole lot of observers surmised that something of the sort had to be behind the unprecedented and, seemingly inexplicable levels of censorship on the platform.
But – what in the world was happening at Facebook, around the same time? After all, Facebook is an almost orders of magnitude bigger and more influential social network than Twitter.
For the time being, we don’t have the same “direct line” to internal documents as is the case with Twitter, which was made possible by the dedication to transparency by the new owner himself.
However, what could be dubbed as the “Facebook Files” are based on credible sources, too – Reason is coming out with a story based on confidential emails that emerged thanks to a court case – the state of Missouri suing the Biden administration.
The emails show that Facebook (and by extension Instagram) representatives and the CDC not only kept in touch at all times, but that the tech giant also “routinely asked government health officials to vet claims relating to the virus, mitigation efforts such as masks, and vaccines.”
In turn, the CDC kept a watchful eye on what speech was allowed on Facebook, what policies toward censorship of “inconvenient” Covid topics applied, and this government agency had no problem instructing the social network behemoth how to behave in these instances.
Robbie Soave, a senior editor for Reason, revealed some examples of what was happening in a series of tweets citing the emails and providing screenshots. One shows that in May 2021, CDC started to get involved in “vetting” content on Facebook that concerns Covid vaccines. And CDC had the last word on what was allowed to remain online as “accurate.”
Other emails show that Facebook (Meta) made sure the CDC was given de facto power to police Covid “misinformation,” while at the same time flagging content for the CDC, consulting with it on claims that could “contribute to vaccine refusals.”
At the same time, Reason is acknowledging that this was by no means the only federal agency to engage in similar activities, all aimed at pressuring some of the world’s biggest social platforms to allow only a certain narrative, and discredit any skepticism, even that coming from medical professionals and scientists.
Even President Biden made sure to “contribute” to this effort, when he in June 2021 bizarrely accused Facebook of “killing people.”
This was really meant to say that the giant had better not dare allow any Covid content the White House failed to “vet” behind the scenes – one way or another.
And the giant obliged, sometimes probably even exceeding the level of compliance expected from the administration. An internal email now reveals that Facebook went as far as to “snitch” on its own users making fun of Anthony Fauci, apparently in a bid to defend his reputation – again, at the expense of free speech.
“One email warned the CDC that Facebook users were mocking Fauci for changing his mind about masking and double-masking. The CDC replied that this information was ‘very helpful’,” Soave, the magazine’s senior editor and host on The Hill TV channel, tweeted.
The upcoming, March issue of Reason delves into how the CDC turned into the speech police when it came to pressuring social media to block content that the government agency decided was Covid “misinformation.”
And this was online speech that this, and other government agencies, have no constitutional way of directly suppressing without breaking the law.
“There is a word for government officials using the threat of punishment to extort desired behaviors from private actors. That word is: jawboning,” Soave remarked in one of the tweets.
And one can imagine – and the emails now show – just how gun-shy and ready to please those in power Facebook had become, after years of public vilification, and who knows what kind of pressure behind the scenes in the wake of the 2016 US election.