Taibbi reports that Stanford's Virality Project took issue with accounts that used factual information to question the "expert guidance" of Dr. Anthony Fauci, former head of the NIAID. He notes that accounts that questioned the "Wuhan wet market" origin story of Covid, instead suggesting that the virus could have leaked from a Wuhan Virology Lab, were suspect per Stanford. That "lab leak" theory is now the primary Covid-origin theory per officials.
Accounts that purported that natural immunity was as good a protection against Covid as the vaccines, if not better, were also suspect, as well as what the Virality Project called "worrisome jokes." Over the past few years, jokes have gotten many accounts in trouble with Twitter censors, and some mainstream media outlets questioned whether or not satire itself was an actionable offense.
All of these, Taibbi reports, were "characterized as 'potential violations' or disinformation 'events' by the Virality Project, a sweeping, cross-platform effort to monitor billions of social media posts by Stanford University, federal agencies, and a slew of (often state-funded) NGOs."
The Virality Project had targeted "stories of true vaccine side effects" as actionable content, and in 2021, they "worked with government to launch a pan-industry monitoring plan for Covid-related content. At least six major Internet platforms were 'onboarded' to the same JIRA ticketing system, daily sending millions of items for review."
And the Virality Project wasn't always right themselves, instead, they were driven by bias, making huge assumptions, and leaning into their own belief in a narrative that was not proven, but simply assumed to be accurate, despite increasingly visible inconsistencies.
For Taibbi, the uncovering of Stanford's Virality Project "accelerated the evolution of digital censorship, moving it from judging truth/untruth to a new, scarier model, openly focused on political narrative at the expense of fact."
In fact, many of those accounts and tweets targeted by the Virality Project, and identified to Twitter as misinformation, were factual accounts from individual Americans about their experience with the vaccines.
Stanford's Virality Project "told Twitter that 'true stories that could fuel hesitancy,' including things like 'celebrity deaths after vaccine' or the closure of a central NY school due to reports of post-vaccine illness, should be considered 'Standard Vaccine Misinformation on Your Platform.'" They further said that Americans' posted concerns about vaccine passports and mandates, which were implemented in New York, San Francisco, Seattle, and other locales, "drove a larger anti-vaccination narrative about the loss of rights and freedoms."
Truth, repeatedly, was labeled a "disinformation event" if that truth caused skepticism among others.
The mRNA vaccines which were first to come to market in the rush to find a cure for the coronavirus that emerged from China in early 2020 received emergency use authorization from the FDA, and were rushed to market. Americans were encouraged by the Biden administration to take the vaccines and to not question their efficacy. Biden went on TV numerous times to show himself getting the vaccine, and then getting booster shot follow-ups.
Some cities made vaccines mandatory in order for citizens to participate in public life, and it soon became clear on social media that questioning the vaccines' usefulness, or noting side effects from taking it, would be a bannable offense.
Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene was banned from Twitter for sharing statistics from the VAERS database, which is a government tool in which citizens can report vaccine side effects. VAERS is what doctors and officials rely on for collective information about the unintended impacts of vaccines, but for Twitter and media who were intent on making sure no questions were asked, posting those stats was not permitted.
Join and support independent free thinkers!
We’re independent and can’t be cancelled. The establishment media is increasingly dedicated to divisive cancel culture, corporate wokeism, and political correctness, all while covering up corruption from the corridors of power. The need for fact-based journalism and thoughtful analysis has never been greater. When you support The Post Millennial, you support freedom of the press at a time when it's under direct attack. Join the ranks of independent, free thinkers by supporting us today for as little as $1.
Remind me next month