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Thomas Gallatin / April 30, 2020

Social Media Justifies Pandemic Censorship

Facebook’s “fact checkers” are again exposed as biased and not beholden to actual facts.

The debate as to where social-media platforms like Facebook and YouTube should be free to censor user/creator content is far from over, even if these companies act as if it has been settled. As we have noted previously, the crux of the issue has to do with how to classify these companies. Are they merely platforms providing a forum for the free exchange of speech but not responsible for any speech expressed, or are they publications that can claim greater authority and control over speech made on their platforms? The fact that this distinction hasn’t been resolved has only proven to further impinge on Americans’ right of free speech.

In an obvious attempt to maintain this fence-sitting position, as well as to appease Democrats who love to blame President Donald Trump’s election on Russian interference via a tiny misinformation ad campaign on Facebook, these social-media giants have employed “fact checkers” to supposedly police their sites and alert users to “fake news.”

During this China Virus pandemic, Americans stuck at home have sought and expressed information, misinformation, and opinions about the novel virus across social media. Platforms such as Facebook and YouTube — which have been repeatedly exposed for their bias in favoring leftist political views while seeking to suppress conservative opinions — have taken advantage of the situation to justify for their censorship practices.

Case in point is a recent New York Post op-ed written by Steve Mosher, president of the Population Research Institute. Titled “Don’t buy China’s story: The coronavirus may have leaked from a lab,” Facebook “fact checked” the story, flagged it and labeled it “fake news.” The dubious alert caused respected investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson to question Facebook’s fact checkers, and — surprise — she found that these “fact checkers” are little more than advocates guarding prevailing leftist perspectives.

“You cannot make it up,” Attkinson observed. “The ‘fact checker’ Facebook is using to censor a documentary discussing possibility that coronavirus came from Wuhan lab… is [a] scientist who worked at Wuhan lab with Chinese communists.” The lead “fact checker” on the op-ed for Facebook was as Danielle Anderson, an individual who, as Mosher notes, “has long-standing professional ties to the Wuhan Institute of Virology.” He adds, “Our article was censored based on the recommendation of a scientist who … collaborates with the Wuhan virology lab.” Can you say “conflict of interest”?

Furthermore, another of Facebook’s “expert” fact checkers who reviewed Mosher’s op-ed explained that she came to her conclusion that his article was “fake news” based on her opinion that “any reasonable government” would have prevented any leaks from a bio-research lab.

This is hardly surprising when you have leftists like two university professors arguing, “In the great debate of the past two decades about freedom versus control of the network, China was largely right and the United States was largely wrong. Significant monitoring and speech control are inevitable components of a mature and flourishing internet, and governments must play a large role in these practices to ensure that the internet is compatible with a society’s norms and values.”


Once again, the profound wisdom of our Founders is displayed in their insistence that freedom of speech be protected. The fact of the matter is that censorship of speech, no matter how “righteous” its advocates claim, can never prevent misinformation or disinformation from being propagated. In fact, the only factor that can ensure that disinformation or misinformation is confronted and exposed is free speech — not government or Big Business control. History has repeatedly demonstrated that those given the power to regulate speech will invariably abuse that authority, with truth itself becoming the first casualty.

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