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Maybe Facebook Is Killing People. And?

Joe Biden tells us that Facebook is literally killing people by allowing disinformation about vaccines to be spread on its pages.

Well, yes, and Mr President?

A serious question there, not just some flight of rhetoric. So, this is true – imagine it is true at least – and so what are we going to do about it?

Joe Biden says social media platforms such as Facebook “are killing people” for allowing disinformation about coronavirus vaccines to be posted on its platform, as the administration continued criticising the company.

“They’re killing people. … Look, the only pandemic we have is among the unvaccinated. And they’re killing people,” the US president told reporters at the White House on Friday, when asked about disinformation and what his message was to social media platforms such as Facebook.

Covid19 vaccination in Delhi, India – 01 Mar 2021
Mandatory Credit: Photo by Manish Rajput/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock (11780992s) Senior citizens wait to receive the Covishield vaccine at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital. India begins phase 2 of Coronavirus Vaccination Drive Inoculating over 60s at Rajiv Gandhi Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, opening registrations for people above 60 years and those aged 45 in the second phase of the inoculation drive which began on January 16. Covid19 vaccination in Delhi, India – 01 Mar 2021

Covid-19 disinformation has proliferated during the pandemic on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter and Google’s YouTube. Researchers and lawmakers have long accused Facebook of failing to police harmful content on its platforms.

The obvious call here is for Facebook to make sure that such harmful information isn’t posted. And that is what the call actually is, what in fact Facebook is doing too. Wander around claiming that having a vaccine will turn you into something hideous like a Democrat and you’ll be off the platform as fast as Joe himself can forget his lines. Which isn’t, in itself, a problem. For vaccines are good things, being a Democrat is not, so we shouldn’t confuse the two issues.

It’s also true that we are in a pandemic, we’d prefer not to be, vaccination is our way out and so on.

The problem comes at a level higher than this, one level more meta. Once we do decide that harmful information should not be published – and we do, always, insist upon that, incitement to violence is a crime and so on, we do insist that harmful information not be published for some definition of “harmful” – then we’ve got to have a definition of what is harmful as applied to information and then, one step beyond that, who decides?

Which is where our problem comes in. We can imagine people being pushed out of that public square for insisting that all, not just black, lives matter. This has happened just recently. We might really stretch the bounds of believability and think that someone might get deplatformed for insisting that sex is genetic and innate while gender can be whatever flight of fancy society constructs it to be.

Or perhaps a losing politician gets banned for insisting that the election was stolen. Well, no, that’s obviously going much to far into idiocy, no one would ever believe that.

So, what is this definition of harm then? Minimum wages don’t cause unemployment? Society is systematically racist? 30 million Americans live in poverty?

Well, that all rather depends upon who it is that gets to define what is harmful, doesn’t it? As a theoretical answer harm will be defined as whatever the establishment doesn’t like. It will, after all, be the establishment defining what is harm. Given the beliefs of our current establishment that’s not holding out great hope for the dissemination of truth now, is it?

Say, something that really does need to be said. Sure, the American west is having wildfires. This is. apparently, all to do with climate change. Except maybe not. That the American west evolved to burn and hasn’t been allowed to burn for a century might have something to do with it. So, is calling for repeated and low level burns sensible free speech of to be banned because dangerous and harmful climate denial?

Do not, whatever else you might end up thinking, believe that any system of controlling harmful speech will not be taken over by such people and their concerns. We have good evidence of this too – just look at what people get Twitter bans for saying. Sure, much of it might even be wrong but that’s not why the bans, they’re saying something against the current orthodoxy.

The process runs against our historic and folk knowledge. The Daily Sport telling us there’s a WWII bomber on he Moon. World Weekly News insisting that the aliens have returned Elvis and he’s now cooking up cheeseburgers in Alabama. This is harmful information, it’s certainly untrue. But as we’ve found out over the centuries it’s only be allowing that freedom to publish that we also provide the freedom, the space, for the WaPo to publish the president sent plumbers into the democrats – and not to clear the drains. Or that the NYT has to room to publish pentagon papers.

Or, as we might put it, a free press really does have to be a free press. For while that does mean giving room to the nutters any system of restriction means we’ll only ever be presented with approved views – and at that point it matters greatly who is doing the approving.

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John B
John B
15 days ago

We are not in a pandemic of SARS CoV 2, no more than we are in a pandemic of influenza or Common Cold, the virus is ENdemic, that means it is resident in the population and will probably remain so, like ‘flu and four other coronavirus, for ever. An EPIdemic means infection is spreading outward from a focal source. PANdemic is EPIdemic over a large area such as the World or region. infection of SARS CoV 2 leads to death in about 0,15% of infected people; median age at death is 84, 95% with comorbidity… meaning they would have died… Read more »

Spike
Spike
15 days ago
Reply to  John B

Seconded! In the US, Covid has been below epidemic levels since June 2020.

Like “the public interest,” there is no objective measurement of “harmful posts,” and the power to curb them is instantly corrupting. Social media muted the NY Post and its news that Hunter Biden’s abandoned laptop corroborated the family grift; this was only “harmful” to Biden’s election prospects.

Spike
Spike
15 days ago
Reply to  John B

PS—Epidemic means not only what you said, but that the infection is causing death at a specific percentage of the overall death rate. Our panic-mongers will keep using the term until there are no more “upticks” in “cases”—or, as you said: forever.

Ah! but “pandemic”? Then Yanks must mask up not-at-risk Kindergarteners because India has a problem? as we prohibit plastic grocery bags because they toss theirs in the ocean? World gov’t plus one-size-fits-all solutions spell an era in which everyone gets forced to make wrong decisions.

decnine
decnine
15 days ago

Promotion of Socialism would qualify for my ‘harmful’ list.

MrVeryAngry
MrVeryAngry
15 days ago
Reply to  decnine

Guaranteed to kill some or all of us. Based on the ‘evidence’.

Spike
Spike
15 days ago

Please don’t concede in passing that “It’s also true that we are in a pandemic, we’d prefer not to be, vaccination is our way out and so on.” It is not just that lefties have fashioned a dictatorial response to an “existential crisis,” but that the crisis itself is fake, like each of Biden’s other crises like money inequality and systemic racism.

Otherwise, before long you’ll be promoting a new tax as a much more elegant solution to the “problem.”

Mohave Greenie
Mohave Greenie
15 days ago

And blm is literally killing people on Facebook with defund the police and riot support. But, because it is our bastards doing it, it’s OK. It all depends on who wants to control the information. Russian dossier on Trump – Good. Hunter Biden laptop – Bad. Latest kompromat on Trump – Good. Election irregularities – Bad. WuFlu lab origin – Bad, until it is Good. The administration wants to not only censor Facebook, but is now working to intercept and restrict text messages. It says it has a list of the most prolific misinformation sources. How does it know? Why… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Mohave Greenie
Spike
Spike
15 days ago
Reply to  Mohave Greenie

Rep. Massie asks today on Twitter: What’s the likelihood Facebook is targeting not just these spreaders of “misinformation” but the users who read them?

jgh
jgh
15 days ago

God God, the Telephone Company allows people to spread misinformation, When Is The Telephone Company Going To Vet What People Say On The Phone?
The Post Office allows people to spread misinformation. When Oh When is the Post Office going to vet what people write on paper?
YEAH GODS!!!!!!
PENCILS!!!!! allow people to write misinformation. WWHAT is tyhe president going to do about Chungwah – CHINESE!!!!!!! – when is he gonna stop therm Commiees allowing people to write down misfurmatione???

TD
TD
14 days ago
Reply to  jgh

Not to mention smoke signals and jungle drums.

Snarkus
Snarkus
15 days ago

so governments are not killing people by destroying businesses with lockdowns ? Rumours in Oz suggest selfharm rates are climbing rapidly. All I am sure of is my blood pressure spikes every time an assumed sane acquaintance makes a foolish, usually demonstrably false dogmatic claim taken from antiSocial media.. Breath deep, slowly exhale…. The alternative of “offically approved” only sources of news is merely terrifying to contemplate. Oz already has the Australian Bolshevik Corporation doing it already. (Oz Broadcasting Corp, similar to BBC, only more stupid.)

Boganboy
Boganboy
14 days ago
Reply to  Snarkus

You remind me of my apologies to the taxi driver who was taking me to the hospital yesterday. I’d forgotten to put my mask on.

As he pointed out, the government’ll have us going around stark naked next.

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