YouTube Bans & Blocks “Anti-Vaccine” Content From Its Platform

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In Brief

  • The Facts:
    • YouTube is taking down several video channels associated with high-profile anti-vaccine activists.

    • They are also banning content that calls into question the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

  • Reflect On:
    • Why are these companies so focused on censoring scientific and medical literature raising cause for concern?

    • How many important pieces of information will get caught up in the dragnet of censorship?

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YouTube is currently in the process of taking down “anti-vaccine” activist accounts while simultaneously blocking people from posting “anti vaccine” content. Simply put, YouTube will ban any videos that claim commonly used vaccines approved by health authorities are ineffective or dangerous.

The big issue many people are unaware of with regards to Big Tech censorship is the fact that legit, scientific, peer-reviewed medical literature and thousands of scientists, doctors and other academics have been caught within this dragnet of censorship. For example, in March, Harvard epidemiologist and vaccine expert Dr. Martin Kulldorff was subjected to censorship by Twitter for sharing his opinion that not everybody needed to take the COVID vaccine.

Based on our experience here at The Pulse, these social media platforms are also banning information published in peer reviewed medical journals if that information calls into question the safety and effectiveness of vaccines.

An article published in the British Medical Journal by journalist Laurie Clarke has highlighted the fact that Facebook has already removed at least 16 million pieces of content from its platform and added warnings to approximately 167 million others. YouTube has removed nearly 1 million videos related to, according to them, “dangerous or misleading covid-19 medical information.”

This type of censorship has forced doctors, scientists and professors from around the world to create various alliances. For example, after University of Guelph professor and viral immunologist Dr. Bryam Bridle was censored for sharing science, he and hundreds of other Canadian viral immunologists, doctors, scientists and other academics created the Canadian Covid Care Alliance.

There are many independent organizations like this around the world, yet not many people know about them because our society still relies heavily on government and mainstream media for relevant information. What can we do about this?

Who decides what’s dangerous or misleading? It’s not just vaccines, we’ve seen the same thing with science that’s called into question the safety of prolonged mask wearing, or the effectiveness of lockdowns.

For example, a large meta analysis has raised a number of health concerns with regards to prolonged mask wearing. This is peer-reviewed medical literature yet if you have a big platform, like we do, and share it on social media, warning labels and fake news notices pop up on the post. This article written by Professor of Evidence Based Medicine from Oxford University professor Carl Heneghan and his colleague was deemed “fake news.”

How is information published in peer reviewed scientific journals off limits for discussion? Why can’t exploration be had about information and evidence that calls into question the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine? Why is it always labelled and deemed as an “anti vax conspiracy theory”?

So, I ask again, who is doing this?

Facebook and YouTube rely on partnerships with third party fact checkers, convened under the umbrella of the International Fact-Checking Network—a non-partisan body that certifies other fact checkers, run by the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, a non-profit journalism school in St Petersburg, Florida. Poynter’s top donors include the Charles Koch Institute (a public policy research organisation), the National Endowment for Democracy (a US government agency), and the Omidyar Network (a “philanthropic investment firm”), as well as Google and Facebook. Poynter also owns the Tampa Bay Times newspaper and the high profile fact checker PolitiFact. The Poynter Institute declined The BMJ’s invitation to comment for this article.

Clarke.

There seems to be some conflicts of intrest when it comes to those in charge of discerning fake information from legit information. Reuters, is owned by the $40 billion international multimedia company. Thomson Reuters Corporation, is also in the business of “fact checking” social media posts. Reuters publishes its fact-checking commentary online in a format designed to resemble news stories, which turn up in online searches.

Reuters has also  announced a new collaboration with Twitter to “more quickly provide credible information on the social networking site as part of an effort to fight the spread of misinformation.” In February, Reuters announced a similar partnership with Facebook to “fact check” social media posts.

When announcing its fact-checking partnerships with Facebook and Twitter, Reuters made no mention of this fact: The news organization has ties to PfizerWorld Economic Forum (WEF) and Trusted News Initiative (TNI), an industry collaboration of major news and global tech organizations whose stated mission is to “combat spread of harmful vaccine disinformation.”

Reuters did not provide any criteria for how information would be defined as “misinformation” and did not disclose the qualifications of the people responsible for determining fact versus false or misleading “misinformation.”

The co-founder of Snopes, David Mikkelson, was recently caught publishing nearly 60 plagiarized articles in an attempt to fact check internet content. Welcome to the the business of fact checking.

What’s more unfortunate is that a main source of information for people is mainstream media which is currently sharing mostly government approved messaging. The information presented via these sources is how people have been developing their perception of the pandemic. With COVID becoming such a political and corporate weapon, censoring information that calls into question the “official” narrative seems to be vital to these interests.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. Covid-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health.1 Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science.

Kamran Abbasi, executive editor, British Medical Journal.

I am reminded of a recent tweet from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, quoting an article written by Nadja Vancauwenberghe for Exberliner,

Before 9/11, it was the war on drugs. Now it’s corona. It’s ongoing. The so-called security apparatus always produces new narratives of fear conducive to expanding its powers, and 9/11 was one more crisis it tried to exploit.

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