Features Australia

Facenanny knows best

With friends like these who needs enemies?

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

22 August 2020

9:00 AM

‘Your post goes against our Community Standards on misinformation’ warns the Facebook censor when your article vanishes from its site. ‘We encourage free expression,’ it claims bizarrely, ‘but don’t allow false information about Covid-19 that could contribute to physical harm.’ The ‘false information’ in this case was my article last week on this page, ‘No Guts, No Glory,’ which reported internationally renowned Professor Thomas Borody’s opinion that a simple head lice drug, combined with an antibiotic and zinc can cure Covid-19 if administered as soon as symptoms appear. Borody is not only famous for his ground-breaking work curing peptic ulcers but is a peer reviewer for half a dozen leading medical journals. That didn’t daunt Facebook’s millennial fact-checkers. Nanny knows best. They purged seven million posts about Covid between April and June and put warnings on another 98 million.

Facebook only allows people to share information about Covid-19 from what it deems to be ‘credible sources’ such as the WHO, whose ‘credibility’ with the international scientific community has been somewhat tarnished by it support for Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The journal Nature warned that TCM is ‘fraught with pseudoscience’ and that the inclusion last year of traditional therapies in the WHO’s global diagnostic compendium came with risks, especially for tigers, rhinoceros, sea horses and pangolins, which are being poached into extinction to boost the flagging virility of Chinese communists and cure other ailments. That hasn’t deterred the tech titans who defer to the organisation as the unsullied font of medical wisdom. Early this year, at the behest of China, the WHO removed a warning it had posted about the use of TCM to treat Covid-19. This presumably means the Facebook enforcers can give a free pass to users who share Covid treatments from Chairman Xi’s little red prescription book such as injections of bear bile powder and goat horn. The Chinese Communist Party’s love affair with TCM goes back to Chairman Mao, who didn’t believe it worked but cynically promoted it to the masses because it was popular, cheap and Chinese. Now, Xi is selling it all along the yellow brick Belt and Road, turning it into a 50 billion dollar industry. At home, party cadres to do their bit to boost sales; in Yunnan, officials forced students to take TCM before granting them permission to return to school after the Covid lockdown.

Meanwhile, Facebook, Twitter, Google and its subsidiary YouTube censor medical treatments advocated by internationally lauded scientists and already implemented by numerous national health agencies with excellent results. A viral video of ‘America’s Frontline Doctors’ a group promoting a hydroxychloroquine triple-therapy was downloaded by 17 million viewers before it was deleted from YouTube. Why? Behind the claim of concern to prevent physical harm, social media CEOs seem determined to stifle any discussion of treatment which would end the pretext for the extraordinary usurpation of power by government agencies and the suspension of fundamental freedoms that are destroying the lives and livelihoods of millions of people.

As the pandemic drags on, tech titans are ramping up the thought control far beyond corona cures. For the first four months, no platform dared to censor President Trump but in May, for the first time, Twitter ‘fact-checked’ his tweet that postal voting would lead to substantial fraud. Twitter stamped the tweet with a red letter warning to readers to ‘get the facts’.Since then, platforms have been increasingly brazen. In June, Twitter claimed that Trump violated its policies when he tweeted that those who tried to create an ‘Autonomous Zone’ in Washington, DC would be met with ‘serious force.’ Twitter said this was an unacceptable ‘threat of harm against an identifiable group.’ It came as a surprise to Trump supporters that the president saying he would enforce the law to prevent rioters from setting up a lawless zone in the capital was deemed ‘abusive behaviour.’ In an impressive display of double-think, Twitter does not censure the calls of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, for the elimination of Israel because, as  a Twitter executive explained to the Knesset, ‘world leaders’ are free to ‘comment’ on political issues. As if to prove the point, Twitter did not bat an eyelid last week when, after the historic peace agreement between Israel and the UAE, Khamenei tweeted, ‘We advise and warn of bitter consequences (to) the Muslim politicians who seek refuge with the enemy & those who accept the existence of the usurping, oppressive #Zionist regime’ yet it locked Trump’s account until he deleted a clip calling for schools to be reopened.

Ironically, Google is currently bombarding Australians with desperate messages about a proposed new law which has been framed to try to force it to pay a share of the advertising revenue it derives from Australian journalists to the media companies that pay their wages. ‘You’ve always relied on Google Search and YouTube to show you what’s most relevant and helpful to you,’ it whined. ‘We could no longer guarantee that under this law.’ In reality, Google can retaliate against publishers who force it to pay them by pushing their articles down or even out of the algorithmic food chain. It would hurt both parties but gives each side an incentive to negotiate a better outcome.

In the countdown to the US presidential election, the pressure is mounting from the Left to shut down social media users who don’t share their views. Oxford University’s Internet Institute called for Google to blacklist sites sharing ‘misleading information,’ to prevent them earning advertising revenue. Inevitably, censorship itself has become the story, giving greater prominence to those the Left seeks to silence. The joke was on Twitter this week when it suspended three of the funniest satirists on social media, famous for mocking left-wing lunacy; Titania McGrath, the poe-faced, permanently outraged parody of a Woke warrior, created by comedian and Spiked columnist Andrew Doyle; Jarvis Dupont, a ‘trans Lesbian’ author at Spectator USA who uses his ‘white privilege as a raft to transport minorities from the Cave of Oppression to the Island of Equal Prosperity’; and the Babylon Bee, a Christian satirical site, so popular that within an hour there was a hashtag campaign to ‘Free the Bee.’ After another hour, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey published a grovelling apology claiming that the site had been deleted by ‘mistake’. ‘Twitter apologises after intern accidentally sets coffee on ‘Destroy all Conservatives’ button,’ mocked the Bee, whose followers leapt from 439.3k to 645.3k. In this climate, there is little doubt that the Shy Trump vote is substantial. If the President wins in November, the samizdat satirists will have the last laugh. If he doesn’t the silencing on social media has only just begun.

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