After years of suppressing so-called COVID-19 “misinformation,” Facebook’s parent company Meta has announced it will now remove its censorship policies in the U.S.
As we’ve witnessed over the past three years, Meta has repeatedly clamped down on so-called COVID-19 “misinformation” in the U.S., sometimes at the behest of the White House.
While the tech giant said it would stop censorship of this type of content in the U.S., it will continue “in countries that have a Covid-19 public health emergency declaration” due to “the risk of imminent physical harm,” Meta told The Washington Post.
Meta’s Oversight Board, an independent body that reviews content moderation efforts on social media platforms, released a report in April advising continued censorship of COVID-19 “misinformation” until the pandemic’s emergency classification was taken away by global health authorities.
In May, The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 “no longer constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.”
Facebook censored thousands of posts asserting COVID-19 was man-made while the policy was in place.
As The Daily Caller noted:
The social media giant also solicited talking points from President Joe Biden’s administration to “get ahead” of the potentiality that people might be hesitant to receive a COVID-19 vaccine after evidence emerged that the Johnson and Johnson single-dose vaccine might lead to life-threatening blood clots in some rare cases, documents shared with the Daily Caller News Foundation show.
The platform targeted 27 million examples of what it considers “COVID-19 misinformation from Facebook and Instagram between March 2020 and July 2022,” according to the Oversight Board’s report.
The White House pushed Facebook to censor then-Fox News host Tucker Carlson for stating “vaccines” “don’t work,” according to an email obtained by Republican Attorney General Jeff Landry of Louisiana.
“Since we’ve been on the phone – the top post about vaccines today is [T]ucker Carlson saying they don’t work,” White House Director of Digital Strategy Rob Flaherty reportedly wrote in an email to an unknown Facebook employee on April 14, 2021.
“This is exactly why I want to know what ‘Reduction’ actually looks like – if ‘reduction’ means ‘pumping our most vaccine-hesitant audience with [T]ucker Carlson saying it doesn’t work’ then… I’m not sure it’s reduction!” Flaherty added.
The Facebook employee responded by saying they were “running this down now.”
Meta not only censored content on Facebook but also on their other platforms, such as the popular photo platform Instagram.
Just recently, Instagram banned Democratic presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s account for criticizing the COVID-19 vaccine.
“As he is now an active candidate for president of the United States, we have restored access to Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.’s Instagram account,” Meta spokesman Andy Stone told the Post.
Kennedy Jr later revealed Instagram had banned him from creating new campaign accounts for 180 days in May.
RFK Jr slammed the Mark Zuckerberg-owned platform in a scathing tweet:
“To silence a major political candidate is profoundly undemocratic. Social media is the modern equivalent of the town square. How can democracy function if only some candidates have access to it?”