The ‘COVID Misinformation’ Train Wreck

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By Michael Applebaum, MD(American Thinker)

One cannot avert one’s eyes from witnessing a catastrophe, e.g., a train wreck, or so it is popularly said. But train wrecks cease being entertaining when you are on the train.

But for the fact that we are on the Government-Big Tech train wreck, it would be popcorn time.

White House officials are notifying Facebook about posts that allegedly spread COVID-19 misinformation as part of efforts by President Joe Biden‘s administration to combat what U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy described as “an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health.”

Murthy and White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki discussed their efforts as part of a “new campaign” to fight virus-related misinformation. An advisory recently published by Murthy’s office details steps that tech outlets, private citizens, local governments, and media outlets can take to battle misinformation when they come across it.

Psaki said part of the Biden administration’s new campaign involves asking social media companies to be more active in combatting misinformation and to share the results of their efforts publicly.

“We are in regular touch with these social media platforms, and those engagements typically happen through members of our senior staff, but also members of our COVID-19 team,” Psaki said.

She mentioned Facebook specifically as a platform with which officials have been in frequent contact.

“We’ve increased disinformation research and tracking within the surgeon general’s office,” Psaki said. “We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation. We’re working with doctors and medical professionals to connect medical experts who are popular with our audiences with accurate information and boost trusted content — so we are helping get trusted content out there.”

Psaki added that an estimated 12 individuals are responsible for about 65 percent of all anti-vaccine misinformation on social media. Though some of those individuals are blocked on some social media platforms, she said they are not blocked on Facebook.

“All of them remain active on Facebook, despite some even being banned on other platforms — including ones that Facebook owns,” she said.

When contacted for comment, a Facebook official told Newsweek the company is taking action to combat COVID-19 misinformation and has thus far removed more than 18 million pieces of misinformation-related content. Some accounts that frequently shared content including misinformation have been banned, the official added.

Of course, this raises lots of questions.

Who are these “12 individuals… responsible for about 65 percent of all anti-vaccine misinformation on social media”?

If they are “an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health,” why can’t the government just talk to them directly?

Will Facebook and other Big Tech platforms trace the readers of the “12 individuals… responsible for about 65 percent of all anti-vaccine misinformation on social media”?

What is the liability assumed by these 12 individuals… responsible for about 65 percent of all anti-vaccine misinformation on social media” for being “an imminent and insidious threat to our nation’s health”?

Now that Facebook has been notified and should “misinformation breakthrough” occur resulting in actual physical harm to a Facebook user, is Facebook liable? Other media platforms?

What if the settled COVID science changes and some of the alleged misinformation turns out to be correct? Who (e.g., the Social Media-stapo), if anybody, assumes responsibility for any harm caused?

Lookie here: this is from the JAMA Network. It is a table showing the Number of Deaths for Leading Causes of Death, US, 2015-2020

COVID ranks Number Three. Assuming these COVID data are true, and there are reasons not to believe that (e.g., from WHO, “The exact relationship (between Ct value and infectivity is still being researched, and interpreting these results depends on the clinical context.”), will the Biden Regime go after misinformation about Heart Disease and Cancer, both greater killers?

There is a strong association between overweight/obesity and some cancers and heart disease. Will the government and Facebook begin flagging “bad” diet advice? How about weight loss advice from non-licensed practitioners (e.g., non-registered dietitians, non-registered nutritionists)?

Stroke is also associated with preventable conditions, e.g., overweight/obesity. Are ~160,000 deaths too few for the government to surveil and call the “S.S.ocial Media” for intervention? Same for diabetes?

And on and on. What a train wreck.

When the executive branch gets hauled into court, watching the litigation should be interesting. (It may be fascinating to see how the evenly split Senate and Bidenstag House shake out on this matter.)

Even without considering the constitutional issues, this seems like overkill to go after the (known) “12 individuals… responsible for about 65 percent of all anti-vaccine misinformation on social media” and those composing the remainder.

To rid the house of rodents, an elephant gun is unnecessary.